Real boys will be fittest in the league, says Dan

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BYDANNYCARO

AFEW years ago, I was part of the an­timerger bri­gade. But times have changed, haven’t they? Hav­ing played for sev­eral Jewish clubs, in­clud­ing my cur­rent one, Lon­don Mac­cabi Vale, I feel suit­ably qual­i­fied to com­ment.

I joined the Jewish cricket fold in the early noughties, when the Mac­cabi Sun­day League was thriv­ing.

Myin­ningsstarte­datEdg­wareWan­der­ers, later to merge with Bel­mont, with a suc­cess­ful spell at Ca­sual No­mads in be­tween. Of­fers from South­gate Sy­n­a­gogue­andMALhaveal­sobeenon the ta­ble.

The demise of the league, a few years ago, re­sulted in a very wor­ry­ing pic­ture. No­mads fell by the way­side, leav­ing only a hand­ful of clubs – play­ing a va­ri­ety of stan­dards. And when the Stu­art Neils Na­tional Cup stopped, the fu­ture looked even bleaker.

Vale have been top of the tree for the large part, with Bel­mont, MAL and No­mad­sen­joy­ingyear­sof great­suc­cess too. But clearly, play­ing the best qual­ity com­pet­i­tive cricket clearly isn’t the be all and end all for the masses to­day.

There was a time when, my­self in­cluded, it was great be­ing a big fish in a small pond. Hav­ing com­pleted a 20-year stint on the non-Jewish cir­cuit at Hamp­stead CCandMid­dle­sexColts,Iwantedanew chal­lenge. At the time, Vale wasn’t for me, but now it’s the only vi­able op­tion.

Vale and Bel­mont have dis­cussed a pos­si­ble merger more than once and more re­cently, we’ve seen in­for­mal dis­cus­sions be­tween MAL and Bel­mont, who are cel­e­brat­ing their 40th an­niver­sary. Ri­valry used to be fierce and healthy, but, sadly, it’s no longer there.

We’re not deal­ing with the same kind of num­bers as we still have in Jewish foot­ball in Lon­don and I be­lieve it’s time for some peo­ple and clubs to start look­ing at the big­ger pic­ture, for­ward, not­back,and­not­wor­ryso­much­about names.

The old guard at Vale have been given a new lease of life by Mac­cabiah stars of to­dayand­to­mor­row–name­lyJoseph Green­wall Cohen, Ben­jamin Lederman, Joseph Green­wall Cohen, Jonathan Gould, Adam Spooner, plus fleet­ing ap­pear­ances from Grant Rein­gold.

Given that Sun­day cricket has be­come a strug­gle for many clubs around the coun­try, a one-club ethic would be a win-win, es­pe­cially for the young­sters. It would make sense to house every­one un­der­the­sameum­brella,with­Row­ley Lane the ob­vi­ous venue.

Dis­cus­sions have stalled for now, but on­cewe­can­putegosand­bravado­toone side, I re­ally hope the ball starts rolling again­some­time­soon. They­maynot hap­pen­to­day­or­to­mor­row,but­some­where­down­the­linethey­have­toorthe in­evitable will hap­pen. Email dcaro@thejc.com and/or fol­low Danny on Twit­ter:@dj­caro

FOOT­BALL MAC­CABI League new boys Real Sosobad will get a help­ing hand from Bolton man­ager Dougie Freed­man af­ter seal­ing a spon­sor­ship deal with leisure firm Fo­cus Fit­ness.

The MGBSFL Divi­sion Three side will re­ceive a new spon­sored kit and the play­ers will ben­e­fit from nu­tri­tional ad­vice, plus oc­ca­sional vis­its from Freed­man, along with busi­ness part­ner Gavin Heeroo.

“The boys are very ex­cited about the sea­so­nand­newspon­sors,”saidSosobad boss Dan Shafron. “We all got to­gether a cou­ple of weeks ago as it was im­por­tant for the squad to see what they do.

“We’re all hun­gry to suc­ceed and win the league. I be­lieve the squad are at good age — the right side of 30 — and are look­ing af­ter them­selves now more than they ever have been.”

Sosobad formed two years ago, play­ing in the Spurs six-a-side league in Chig­well and they will fea­ture a num­ber of for­mer Win­gate & Finch­ley youth academy play­ers, who were man­aged by the late Mau­rice Hanover.

Shafron said: “Ten years ago there was less fo­cus on fit­ness for Sun­day morn­ing foot­ball. Now every­one is more con­scious about what they are do­ing and are keen to look af­ter them­selves.

“We have no smok­ers in our squad — every­one goes to gym and tries to main­tain a healthy life­style. Now we’ll re­ceive guid­ance from for­mer pro­fes­sion­als and I think we’ll be one of the fittest teams. Our chair­man, Josh Ham­bling, is de­mand­ing in­stant re­sults on the pitch.”

The deal arose fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions be­tween’s Real’s Ash­ley Stan­ton and Heeroo, a for­mer Crys­tal Palace player. As a re­sult, the firm, which runs the Healthy Life­style Club in South­gate, have also of­fered ev­ery MGBSFL player to have a free well­ness eval­u­a­tion.

Heeroo said: “Our com­pany is rapidly ex­pand­ing and it’s good to be giv­ing some­thing back to the com­mu­nity. I’ve got lots of Jewish friends and it’s good to be part of the league. It’s a good part­ner­ship for every­one con­cerned.

“We’re a young and vi­brant com­pany and I’ve al­ready met the lads. They are a good bunch and I’ve told them we want to be as­so­ci­ated with win­ners.

“We won’t be train­ing them, but we will help where we can. We’ve got a nu­tri­tion club and will of­fer them shakes be­fore and af­ter matches.

“I hope to come down to a cou­ple of matches and although Dougie lives in Manch­ester, he’s the type of person who will pop down to see them play or train if he can.”

Play­ing in their new kits, Sosobad went down to goals from Sam Cas­tle and Alex Bow­man against Pre­mier Divi­sion new boys Har­men.

PHOTO: MARC MOR­RIS

Alex Bow­man scored in Har­men’s 2-0 friendly win over Real

Max Schindler

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