Norstar London Raiders B will be looking to complete a League & Cup double on Sunday evening, when the MGBSFL Division Two champions take on Hendon B in the final of the inaugural MGBSFL-MMFL Invitational Cup.
Manager Jonathan Adelman says: “After completing an “Invincible” league campaign to clinch the 2nd Division title, Raiders B stand on the brink of clinching a Double but we know that any Hendon side will be tough opponents.
“The Club has come a long way since I led the team out for its last Wingate Final in 2004 (the win over Sutlu Borek in the Barry Goldstein Cup) and to have both our A and B teams competing in back- to-back Cup Finals on the same day is really very special for everyone in Orange.
“It comes on the back of a remarkable season for Raiders with three of our four sides having won their Leagues already, and with our A team still top of the Premier League.
The wide open spaces at the Abrahams Stadium will suit our style well, especially with the likes of David Esterkin, Adam Posner, Gilad Kestenbaum, Andrew McMaster and Mike Hershman in our ranks.”
And hoping to attack their way to victory, he says: “We’ve been a free-scoring side for most of the season and our run to Wingate has seen us smash 17 goals in our four games, with skipper Nicky Woolf scoring a brace in each game. We know Hendon have conceded an average of three goals a game this season so we will be looking to exploit any weakness at the back. We’ll rely on our experienced heads such as Matt Greene, Jonathan Shapiro, Jonny Blain and Anthony Goodmaker to guide the boys through what could be an emotional roller-coster of a day.”
And looking ahead to the game, he says: “It should be a cracking one. We have the momentum of a great league campaign but Hendon had a solid end to their season and I expect the teams to be evenly matched. It we do go to penalties we know that in David Simnock we have probably the best penalty save expert in Jewish football.”
Revealing his side’s team news ahead of the games, he says: “We’re missing Richard Bloom, Simon Buchler, Danny Bloom, Rafi Addelstone and Jeremy Elster for the final but the strength and depth of our squad has been one of the major reasons we have had such a consistent season and it’s great to be able to call on the likes of Club legend Rob Richman, Mayer Shultz as well as Will Ufland and Liam Stein from our title-winning C team, both of whom excelled in the group stages and semi-final.
“We go into the game with real confidence having notched 11 wins and a draw from our last 12 games and with the psychological edge of by far the best Jewish Cup Final song of this or any generation thanks to the skills of winger Rob Samuelson (who should come through a late fitness test to play on Sunday).
Hendon joint-manager Aryeh Goldring is hoping his side’s fine end-of-season run of form can help propel them to victory at Wingate & Finchley FC on Sunday evening.
He says: “We’re looking to take our good form from the last seven weeks into the final and end it on a positive note. On our day we’re a match for anyone and we will look to dominate an impressive Norstar side.”
Confident in his side’s ability, he says: “We have a really strong squad available and the boys are massively up for it, but it’s about staying calm and controlling the game and looking to play to our strengths.
“Whilst not that familiar with their team I know that both Gilad Kestenbaum and Jeremy Elster are very good players and full of energy. I also have no doubt Rafi Addlestone will be missed. We will have to make sure we match them for workrate and I’m confident our quality will shine through.
“We have ability all over the park but we will look to our most experienced players, the likes of Alex Neiss and Martin Smulovitch, to keep the team focused and solid. If given the chance the likes of Daniel Garfinkle, Gav and Ra Noe and Avi Markiewicz will punish them on the break.
“We lost Lee Sieradzki to an ankle injury two weeks ago and that was a real blow and he will be sorely missed and the game might have come to soon for me after I broke my arm 6 weeks ago but we have 14/15 players available and I will have some tough decisions to make before Sunday. Our game plan will be the same but roll on roll off allows us to maintain the intensity throughout and that means the whole squad will have a massive part to play and everyone is desperate to be involved in what will no doubt be an excellent and competitive game.”
ROUTE TO THE FINAL:
Hendon 1 Scrabble 0
Scorer: Martin Smulovitch
Hendon 5 Brady 2
Scorers: Gav Noe 3, Avi Mocton, Avi Markiewicz
Faithold B 7 Hendon B 2
Scorer: Alex Elf 2
Hendon 2 Waldaf Town 0
Scorers: Daniel Garfinkle, Yisroel Lewis
Norstar Raiders B 5 North London Raiders Masters 3
Scorer Nicky Woolf 2, Jonny Blain 2, Adam Posner
Norstar Raiders B 4 Waldaf Town 1
Nicky Woolf 2, Simon Buchler, Liam Stein
Norstar Raiders B 3 Jewdinese 2
Nicky Woolf 2, Will Ufland
Norstar Raiders B 5 Brady Masters 3
Nick Woolf 2, Gilad Kestenbaum, Rob Richman, Will Ufland
Josh Linder (Goalkeeper) – Late signing that has fitted into the team seamlessly and solved a problem position. Also signed to help keep Daniel Garfinkle settled.
Yisroel Lewis (Defender) – Supremely talented, supremely lazy. Notorious for the late Sunday morning pull out with a whole range of excuses. Special thanks must go to kosher kingdom( 7 russell parade, “the ultimate in kosher shopping”) for allowing him to miss work this evening
Alon Blitz (Centre-back) – The hardest working lawyer in Hendon. Hasn’t been seen at training in years due to ‘’work commitments’’. known to pick up an injury immediately after a costly mistake. Fortunately he has no pace to lose but reliable in the Michael Dawson mould
Alex Neiss (Center-back/Centre-midfield) – Whole of Hendon was delighted when he moved jobs and since then there have been no 3 am Sunday morning emails pulling out due to being called into work. Started the season at cm but to his annoyance has excelled at centre-back. Doesn’t lose a header. Spent the last week looking high and low for an armband.
Danny Steel (Right-back) – Sicknote. permanently injured but regularly battles through the pain barrier to play. Arguably hendon’s most consistent performer. Never causes a fuss
Motty Korman (Center-midfield) – Formerly part of the famous Korman dynasty. Not the tricky and pacey winger he once was but has developed into an excellent holding midfielder. Unfortunately missed large parts of the season due to exams but brings an air of calm when he does play.
Gideon Barth (Right side) – Not a winger or a full-back but one of those rare breed of wing-backs. Unfortunately Hendon don’t play with wing backs. Has superb fitness and quick feet. Gets a lift to games from the excellent taxi service provided by the manager where they discuss tactics or lack thereof. Has been known to cast a despondent figure on occasion this season, suspicions are he is looking for improved terms on his contract. With contract expiry looming negotiations are currently at a stand-off.
Martin Smulovitch (Centre-midfield) – Fitness that belies his years. Doesn’t stop running all game and has been an excellent acquisition from the A team. Team suffers when he is absent.
Chaim Gothold (Attacking midfield) – Assistant manager, apparently. Helps with the admin although yet to be established doing exactly what. Lost his pace and the goals have dried up but probably the best passer in the team.
Gav Noe (Left-wing/striker) – Very fast and very tricky but recently goals have been harder to come by than baby boys in the Noe household. Loves a moan and known to throw a strop when the going gets tough. Unplayable on his day.
Avi Markiewicz (Right-wing) – Team mentalist. Anything, no matter how innocuous, can set him off. Has great ability and superb shot but also loves a backheel on the edge of our box. Invariably plays anywhere but the position he was told to.
David Kanter (Center-midfield) – Arguably the most naturally gifted Hendon player but also the most unreliable. Great touch and superb range of passing, Wingates big pitch should suit him down to the ground.
Daniel Garfinkle (Striker) – The jewel in the Hendon crown. Took time to settle but has been ripping team to shreds the last few months. Probably the fastest player in Jewish football. Spends most weeknights texting his manager.
Ra Noe (Striker) – Probably the hardest working player in the team. Blessed with incredible amounts of natural fitness and invariably scores when presented with a chance.
Aryeh Goldring (Player/manager – Left-back) – Learning on the job in his 1st year as manager. Critics say he is too nice to make the tough decisions. After a predominantly disappointing league campaign managed to oversee a strong finish to pull off the most unlikely of escapes from relegation. Broke his arm in the relegation six pointer against spec, has been using an oxygen tent since in order to make the final.
Missing in action – Lee Sieradzki – excellent cm that will be sorely missed after picking up an injury two weeks ago. Ben Wilkinson – currently on secondment in Hong Kong, which is a shame because he is a genuine pleasure to manage. Pinty Baddiel – hasn’t been seen or heard from since having a baby in January. Tali Nevies – after months spent persuading him to stay at the club, he has proceeded to spend the whole season taking exams.
David Simnock (Goalkeeper) – Runner-up of the most eligible NLR bachelor in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to A team skipper David Rhodes, Simnock is hoping that 2014 is his year. Simnock was also awarded the MSFL Goalkeeper of the year in 2007/2008.
Mayer Shultz (Defence) – Went missing for three years but finally reappeared two weeks ago suspiciously close to the cup final. Rumours that he is the German love child of gaffer Adelman are unfounded at this stage.
Anthony Goodmaker (Defender) – The only NLR player to play under Adelman, Peters and Richman. A hugely committed defender who has had an excellent season to date.
Liam Stein (Defence) – Stein is part of the title winning C team side who has been an ever present in the cup competition over recent weeks. Sweet left foot, sour right foot.
Matt Greene (Defender/Midfielder) – Has had more injuries than Nicky Woolf has career NLR goals. Always on the verge of retirement. However once out on the pitch Greene is a hard hitting defensive warrior. Also a published novelist.
Robert Samuelson (Midfield) – Composed the NLR cup final song which currently sits number 63 in the national charts. Made a habit of long distance spectacular goals during the 2014 Invincible league campaign.
Andrew McMaster (Midfield) – The only footballer with half Iranian and half Kiwi heritage eligible to play Jewish football (although rumour has it he prefers Rugby and Water Polo) “Mouse” is one of the most reliable players, when he turns up on time.
Mike Hershman (Midfield) – One part of the Esterkin, Elster, Hershman trio who recently completed the London marathon. Pacy midfielder who could be the player to watch in the cup final
David Esterkin (Midfield) – “The Beast” has 13 goals in 14 games this season. Ran the marathon after just 2 weeks training in 3 hours 29 minutes. Then ran another marathon straight after just for fun.
Jonathan Shapiro (Midfield) – Shapiro would claim his best position is just off the front man in the number 10 position. The entire squad now know his best position is actually in goal. Averages 9.37km a game.
Robert Richman (Midfield) – The legendary manager and Club Life Vice President broke off from his self imposed sabbatical to make a welcome return to the pitch in the Cup, notching a crucial penalty in the semi final win over Brady.
William Ufland (Midfield/Forward) – Like Stein a late end of season graduate from the C team. Diminutive forward who scored a thumping 25 yarder against Jewdinese in the group stages.
Gilad Kestenbaum (Midfield) – Most talented footballer in the famous Kestenbaum household. Gilad will be especially motivated today as he will be going up against many friends and family. Likes a pirouette.
Nicky Woolf (Forward) – The Raiders skipper is the longest serving player at the club across all 3 teams. Been in prolific form this season scoring 26 goals in 21 games to take his overall NLR tally to 117. He has scored 8 times on the road to Wingate.
Jonny Blain (Forward) – Scored the winner in the last Minor cup final in 2011. Career record reads 207 goals in 425 games across 396 different clubs.
Adam Posner (Forward) – Despite a failed transfer move to America, Posner has formed a deadly strike partnership with Nicky Woolf. The pair have netted 30 goals between them this season with Posner chipping in with a gigantic 4.
Jonathan Adelman (Manager) – gaffer extraordinaire. His side did the impossible and became the first NLR side to finish a league season unbeaten. Sunday is a very proud day for Adelman with his beloved Raiders in two cup finals.