They can rebuild him!
Eight months after suffering a severe arm injury, James Wharmby flexed his rejuvenated muscles to strike a ton on the much-awaited opening day of the season.
He cracked a superb 105 showing no ill-effects from an operation to mend his ruptured distal bicep.
Facing newly-promoted Moorside – the last meeting between the two clubs was back in 1981 in the Lancashire and Cheshire League – Wharmby started off circumspectly, and it was opening partner Marty Walters who was quick on the draw to accumulate the early runs. Moorside skipper Richard Harrington proved devilishly difficult to score from, conceding just 15 runs from his opening 9-over spell.
The Prestwich pair shared an exhilarasting 131-run stand for the first wicket before Walters nicked behind for an assured 45, by which time Wharmby was in full flow, striking seven fours and the same number of sixes!
Wharmby emulated his feat from five years ago when he also cracked a century on the opening day of the season at Glossop – the inaugural day of the new GMCL. It was his sixth ton for the first team, and takes his career tally to 6635 runs, taking him above Ian Walker to 8th in the all-time scoring charts since World War Two.
Saturday’s opponents showed plucky resilience, as Shahid Mahmood (4 for 28) was integral in taking a raft of late wickets which restricted the visitors to a total of 225 for 7 when a far bigger target had looked likely.
Deputy pro James Pryce made 21, Ryan Stanbury 17 and an unbeaten little cameo of 12 from Luke Prescott added useful late runs.
Moorside were rocked by a double strike in Stanbury’s opening over, leaving them 4 for 2.
Whilst they kept up with the run rate, wickets were lost at regular intervals, aided by some sharp fielding. Walter’s one-handed outstretched catch at mid-off and a smart caught and bowled by Sam Holden being two excellent examples.
Holden (2 for 22) bowled with plenty of zip and zest, while the evergreen Andy Bradley got a wicket with his first ball, albeit a gentle legside full toss! A couple of better deliveries were cracked for six by the big-hitting Mahmood who made a quick 32, before Bradley gained revenge and finished with figures of 3 for 33.
The 1sts ran out winners by 62 runs, but just as satisfying was the staging of the game itself – played and umpired in excellent spirit.
Prestwich 2nds and 3rds suffered defeats in their opening games, but there were a number of noteworthy performances.
Denton 1sts were the visitors to The Heys and rattled up 211. Steve Ritchie took 5 for 45 and Lewis Jarvis 3 for 42, and their cause was not helped by an injury to Cameron Mapstone while fielding and he could take no further part.
2nd team skipper Haris Aziz hit 62 and was centric to a stand of 72 for the first wicket with Adam Taylor but the run chase ultimately fell away and the side finished on 177 for 9, 34 runs adrift.
The 3rds made a trip to leafy Greenfield on Sunday who made 181 all out. Sam Harding took 4 for 26 and Umar Arif 3 for 38.
Prestwich’s reply faltered after a 52-run opening stand ended with the unfortunate run-out of Luke Prescott for 18. Skipper Pete Lorenzini top scored with 27.