We’ll get it right sec­ond time around, says Rolfe

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BYDANNYCARO

IT’S OF­FI­CIAL. We have now reached the busi­ness end of the sea­son and I’ve told my wife and kids that they won’t be see­ing much of me over the next cou­ple of weeks, with big matches and cup fi­nals com­ing up thick and fast.

My diary is vir­tu­ally booked up and I may as well set up camp at Win­gate & Finch­ley for the fes­ti­val of foot­ball that awaits.

London Lions will fin­ish what has been an ex­cel­lent sea­son in the Molten Spar­tan South Mid­lands League Di­vi­sion One with a match at home to Brox­bourne Bor­ough to­mor­row. Tony Gold’s men de­serve full credit af­ter record­ing their high­est-ever points tally. The man­ager and his coach­ing team de­serve medals af­ter a sea­son ham­pered by in­con­sis­tent avail­abil­ity. The team’s suc­cess cer­tainly bodes well for next year’s Mac­cabiah Games as I ex­pect the Team GB Open foot­ball squad to be packed with play­ers from the Row­ley Lane club.

Sun­day sees the JC MSFL league and cup com­pe­ti­tions take cen­tre stage. It will be ‘squeaky bum time’ for play­ers and sup­port­ers of Brix­ton Old Boys A as vic­tory against Red­bridge Jewish Care B would see them pip Norstar A to the run­ners-up spot in Di­vi­sion One.

At­ten­tion then turns to the Harry Abra­hams Sta­dium where there’s a real treat in store. First up are UJIA and North West Neasden C in the final of the JC Barry Gold­stein Tro­phy. It’s hard to pick a win­ner.

That’s fol­lowed by the JC Cyril Anek­stein Cup final where Hen­don United Sports Club A will look to seal the first part of a pos­si­ble tre­ble against a mul­ti­tal­ented Brady team. It will be great to see Brady hot­shot Paul Hakim and cap­tain mar­vel Jonny El­lis back on their old patch. I’ve been hugely im­pressed by both teams this sea­son, but my money would be on a nar­row Hen­don win.

Sand­wiched in be­tween those two fi­nals are the Mac­cabi GB Na­tional Ju­nior Cup fi­nals at the Hive in Edg­ware. Good luck to Alyth Bel­size, Hen­don United Blue, Hen­don United White, HMH Jaffa, Hen­don United White and Hen­don United Blue.

The fol­low­ing week­end, Hen­don re­turn to Win­gate where they will take on Di­vi­sion One cham­pi­ons Oak­wood in the final of the Peter Mor­ri­son Tro­phy.

Next on the bill is the MGB Un­der 12 final be­tween London Mac­cabi Lions and Manch­ester Mac­cabi. And to cap off a busy sched­ule, the late slot has been re­served for the Mas­ters where cham­pi­ons Brady will look to main­tain their mo­nop­oly on the sil­ver­ware against Glen­thorne United A.

So there’s much to look for­ward to for play­ers and sup­port­ers over the com­ing weeks and, need­less to say, you’ll get the best cov­er­age and anal­y­sis here. See Danny Caro’s week­end round-up at thejc.com. Email dcaro@thejc.com and/ or fol­low Danny on Twit­ter:@dj­caro

Dar­ren­rolfeis­con­fi­den­thistroops can use the pain of last sea­son’s cup final de­feat to spur them on to vic­tory against Di­vi­sion Three ri­vals North West Neasden C in the JC Barry Gold­stein Tro­phy final on Sun­day.

A goal from Jonny Blain in­flicted a heart­break­ing de­feat on UJIA and player-man­ager Rolfe be­lieves his team has what it takes to come away from Win­gate & Finch­ley with sil­ver­ware.

“I think it’s quite an im­por­tant fac­tor thatwe’ve­been­towingate­be­fore,”rolfe said. “It’s ev­ery Jewish player’s dream to rep­re­sent their club in a final and we are de­servedly go­ing back for the sec­ond year in suc­ces­sion.

“Last year’s ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing the re­sult, will be a huge learn­ing curve. We have kept vir­tu­ally the same squad, bar one or two play­ers, so let’s hope we can learn from that. We must re­main fo­cused and not let the oc­ca­sion get in the way of the task at hand.”

Is­raeli striker Assi Avi­tal will be look­ing­tomain­tain­hi­sex­cel­len­trunof form that has seen him score in all but one of the matches in this sea­son’s com­pe­ti­tion. Jeremy Teacher has also chipped in with im­por­tant goals in re­cent weeks. Jeremy Leigh, Gavin Sher­man and Paul Sham­plina of­fer a com­bi­na­tion of grit, de­ter­mi­na­tion and a win­ning men­tal­ity to what is an ex­pe­ri­enced squad.

Rolfe be­lieves that Neasden start as favourites. “They beaten us twice in the league this sea­son but they were our first two games. We then went on an eightgame un­beaten, so although we will be mind­ful of those re­sults, there will be no ex­cuses on Sun­day.”

Asked what can spec­ta­tors watch­ing Uji­aforthe­first­timeshould­ex­pect,rolfe com­mented:“our­fans,whow­ill­comein their hun­dreds, will watch some en­ter­tain­ing slick pass­ing foot­ball. “They will see how de­ter­mined we are in the tackle and our never-say-die at­ti­tude. We’ll be well worth the £3 en­try fee!”

Neasden reached the final fol­low­ing a mem­o­rable 2-1 vic­tory at Di­vi­sion Three cham­pi­ons Glen­thorne United B. Man­ager Louis Tay­lor said: “The whole of the club is buzzing af­ter reach­ing Win­gate.”

Both Neasden and UJIA have one league game re­main­ing in their pur­suit of a third place fin­ish and Tay­lor is con­fi­dent his big-match play­ers will stand up and be counted on Sun­day.

“Ben­jigourgey­has­been­the­s­tand-out per­former in our cup run,” he said. “He’s been full of en­ergy and pops up with im­por­tant goals at vi­tal times.”

Much is also ex­pected from cap­tain Adam Levene, who has played at Win­gate sev­eral times for the club’s A-team. Pay­ing trib­ute to his skip­per, Tay­lor said: “Adam has been the heart­beat of the team since he and I set it up two years ago. We sim­ply don’t let in many goals when he’s play­ing in de­fence.”

Although the UJIA squad has more ex­pe­ri­ence, the pres­ence of Oli Joseph will en­sure Neasden are strong at set­pieces. Tay­lor de­scribes him as “an in­spired sign­ing at the start of the sea­son”. He went on to say: “Oli has chipped in with im­por­tant goals and some fan­tas­tic per­for­mances.”

Look­ing­back­on­thissea­son’scuprun, Tay­lor said: “We did things the hard way - beat­ing the two favourites af­ter only go­ing through on goal dif­fer­ence from the group stage.

“We won’t be tak­ing our op­po­nents lightly and af­ter beat­ing them in our first two league games, we are aware of how much they have im­proved.

“I be­lieve we can win the game with a de­fen­sive dis­play like the ones we put in against Glen­thorne and Faithfold. There are not many back fours stronger than ours in this league or oth­ers. Go­ing for­ward, we have enough qual­ity to cre­ate chances. It’s just about tak­ing them.” FINAL SQUADS UJIA: Dar­ren Rolfe, Ben Rad­stone, Jeremy Leigh, El­liot Nor­man, Gavin Rhodes, Gavin Sher­man, Matt Rad­stone, Ash­ley Free­man, Nick Rus­sell, Tony Plaskow, Assi Avi­tal, Ben Nas­sim, Jeremy Teacher, Ben Sokel, Paul Sham­plina, Paul Rodin, Alex Selig­man. Coach: Si­mon Sokel NEASDEN: Louis Tay­lor, Adam Levene (capt), Michael Perkin, Richie Bra­ham, Jon Ben­jamin, Joel Kanutin, Ali Marks, Tony Chadwick, Si­mon Co­hen, Benji Gourgey, Si­mon Levene, Jamie Isen­wa­ter, Mark En­gel, El­liot Se­tyon, Aron Lewis, Oli Joseph, Sam Ci­curel, Jonny Franks, Daniel Langer, Ross Kester, Phil Ben­son. Mas­cots: Joshua Tay­lor, Zane Levene Of­fi­cials: Ref – Martin Laven­der, Asstrefs – Quentin Fox, Bran­don Pi­eters, 4th of­fi­cial – Lau­rie Ben­son

PHOTO: BEN AN­GEL

Neasden stal­wart Adam Levene ( right) could be the key man on Sun­day

PHOTO: MARC MOR­RIS

UJIA were all smiles af­ter the semi-final vic­tory over Bl­iz­zard Storm

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