Oh what a season!

by | Thursday September 29th 2022 | Cricket

It’s been a remarkable and ground-breaking season of success for Prestwich CC.

The 1st team triumphantly faced up to one of the toughest challenges in any sport – to retain a league title.

The 2nds won the cup, the 3rd team won the league, and the 4th team – only established last season – won the cup.

Add to this, successes at junior level for the U15s and U11s, it’s been a monumental season.

Comparisons with previous seasons can be futile but offer good fuel for debate.

Prestwich have become regular challengers for honours at all levels since the turn of the century, triggered by the club’s focus on developing their young players.

If you had to single out a particular year of across-the-club success, it was in 2007 when both the first and second teams won their respective league titles and cup finals and was branded the “Lancashire County League quadruple”.

Prestwich joined up to the new Greater Manchester Cricket League (GMCL) in 2016 and this season’s tally of 94 points is a new record for the GMCL Premier Division – overtaking Flixton’s 92 points in 2018.

Statistics also point to Prestwich as the best most consistent team since the GMCL was formed.

Since it was founded, only four teams have maintained 100% membership of the top division – Egerton, Clifton, Denton St Lawrence and Prestwich.

Of those teams, Prestwich have accumulated 463 points in the top flight, more than any other club, in addition to appearing in two Cup Finals and two T20 finals (DSL – 444pts, Clifton – 392pts, Egerton – 361pts).

At the core of the club’s success, is the emerging talent of its youngsters. This season’s first team has regularly featured 8/9 players who have come through the ranks. Thanks to the formation of a 4th and 5th team, juniors are being given more opportunity than ever to gain senior experience.

Both the 1st and 2nd teams had completed their fixtures by last weekend, but the 3rds and 4ths had some unfinished business.

The 3rd team had already been crowned league champions – and were unbeaten in the league with just 2 games left.

Agonisingly, it was only in their last match that they suffered their first defeat!

They had kept the record intact on Saturday when beating Royton 3rds by 81 runs.

It was an all-round effort to reach 186 for 7 with Adam Taylor (34), Ellis Compton (27), Ali Sherazi (23) and Muhammad Arif (22 not out) the main contributors.

After Karl West and Sam Staley had bowled tight opening spells, grabbing a wicket each, Umar Arif and Charlie Jackson between them bowled the next 7 batsman. Jackson finished with superb figures of 4 for 6 and Arif 3 for 24. Royton opener Jack Fawcett struck 65 in his side’s total of 105 for 9.

Charlie Jackson returned superb figures of 4-6 against Royton.

And so it was a trip to play Oldham West 1sts on Sunday that was a bridge too far for the 3rds. Adam Taylor hit an unbeaten 72 in the Prestwich total of 145-4. However, the home side repelled the Prestwich attack to good effect and reached the total for the loss of just three wickets.

Nevertheless, clinching the title with 90 points, well clear of second-placed Edgworth, and the loss of just two games all season (the other was a cup semi-final defeat by Greenfield) caps a great season.

Likewise, the 4th team can reflect on an excellent season – winning the cup and finishing third in the Sunday West & South Division 2.

They, too, could not quite finish on a high after losing to this year’s title winners Worsley 3rds.

The newly-crowned champions had been pegged back to 21 for 4 after opening bursts from Sam Staley (3-16) and Anis Khaliq (3-35) while Liam Potts took 1 for 9 in his seven-over spell. However, a fifth wicket partnership of 95 between Hayden Sackfield (50 not out) and Simon Hill (69) was key to a target set of 179-9.

Sam Staley took 3-16 against Division 2 West & South Champions Worsley.

Prestwich’s top order failed to fire, but Tom Hatchett top scored with 23, Potts made 18 and Staley 18 not out before they were dismissed for 104.

+ The junior season will be celebrated with an awards evening on Friday October 7, at 7.30pm and the senior team accolades will be lauded at a presentation on the afternoon of Sunday October 30.

++ Many thanks to Phil Bradley for his research on the club’s GMCL success, Bob Hinchliffe for his weekly player statistics and Leo Michaelovitz for his outstanding photography.