Prestwich saved one of their best performances of the season so far for their trip to the seaside last Sunday.
Facing Northern League leaders Blackpool in the second round of the Lancashire Cup, they turned on the style in spades to win by four wickets.
The game was played amidst a constant gust, although it did not detract from the excellent surrounds of this county-standard ground.
With the recent rain, the wicket was unusually slow, and the Prestwich bowling attack made the most of it.
The hosts got off to a solid start, making 61 for the first wicket before a first-class piece of stumping from James Wharmby saw Matt Houston dismissed for 23, off the bowling of Wilf Reeve.
Reeve struck again, this time caught by Wharmby, to send back Ciaran Johnson for 37. At 92 for 2, and with 19 overs left, Blackpool were looking to accelerate. But Prestwich put on the squeeze, forcing the run rate to decrease and picking up wickets at regular intervals: 92 for 2 became 106 for 6 as Nathan Bailey and skipper Andy Bradley put a stranglehold on the scoring and picked up two wickets apiece.
Wharmby had an outstanding day behind the wickets, claiming two more stumpings. Bailey, who finished with 3 for 22 off his nine-over allocation, Bradley (2 for 28), and Reeve (2 for 31) were all excellent, while Tom Scott (0 for 22 off 9) and Ryan Stanbury (0 for 38) both played their part, despite being wicketless. Two outfield catches by Sam Holden and some smart ground fielding, including a Tom Gibson inspired run out, all helped towards a top-notch, first-half display.
The total of 144 for 8, from 45 overs, was not going to be easy, but was certainly achievable.
However, the quick loss of Gibson, Wharmby and Holden resulted in the visitors having their backs against the sea wall at 18 for 3. However, not for the first time this season, the arrival of Stanbury to the wicket began to put a totally different complexion on the game. Gihahn Cloete was no slouch either, keeping the scoreboard ticking at a good rate, but Stanbury began to power the ball to the boundary which hitherto had rarely been breached. He made 40 in 29 balls, including seven boundaries, before he was caught and bowled by Tom Jefferson.
Cloete was going well at the other end, and Mike Hudson gave good support (13) in the context of the game, but the loss of his wicket, followed quickly by Alex Taylor, again put the destiny of the game up for grabs. However, Cloete remained rock solid, finishing unbeaten on 52, a combination of grit and determination, as well as bucketfuls of skill, whilst Bailey made 12 not out to cap a fine all-round match, and secure Prestwich a place in the last 16 of the Lancashire Cup, away to Norden.
On Saturday, Prestwich’s home clash with Denton St Lawrence fell victim to the rain, although Prestwich had managed to make 126 for 1 from 32.3 overs when the weather interrupted. DSL’s opening bowlers Scott Kirwin and Ben Tighe proved hard to play on a sticky wicket, and Gibson (32 not out) and Cloete (21) had to earn every run of their opening stand of 63 before Jordan Williams made the breakthrough. Stanbury then took to the crease, and made it look as if he had brought his own strip of green, flat carpet to play on. The DSL bowlers rarely strayed, but Stanbury began to punish even the good deliveries. He was unbeaten on 46, with six fours and one six, when the rain came and never relented enough for a re-start.
Prestwich Heat will not be progressing to the latter stages of the Archway T20 competition after being beaten fair and square by first division Winton last Friday. Heat posted a lukewarm total of 124 for 7, which was overhauled with two balls and seven wickets to spare, Russell Brown hitting a undefeated 51. Heat have one group game left – at home to Roe Green on Friday June 23rd.
Prestwich 2nd XI’s game at Thornham last Saturday was abandoned without a ball being bowled, and they lost to Droylsden 1st XI on Sunday after being set a daunting target of 240 for 5 in 45 overs, Shirley smashing a ton for the visitors. Prestwich made a respective reply of 182 for 8, with Adam Taylor hitting 62.
The third team bowed out of the Per-Fit GMCL Sunday Cup against Stretford 4th XI, who dismissed the Prestwich side for 129. Stretford passed the total for the loss of three wickets, two of which were claimed in one over by 14-year-old Josh Raleigh.
This weekend’s games see Prestwich 2nd XI at The Heys on both Saturday and Sunday, firstly welcoming Westleigh in the league, before hosting Flixton in the Per-Fit GMCL 2nd XI Cup.
The first team make the short trip to Roe Green on Saturday, while the third team visit Thornham 2nd XI also on Saturday.