A CARL Hey-inspired victory against Dukinfield kept title-hunting Prestwich on the tails of Lancashire County League leaders Denton West.
They clinched a four-wicket triumph on Saturday with just one ball of the game to spare, leaving them two points behind trailblazing Denton West.
Hey was the key man, fashioning an unbeaten and unperturbed 98, to overhaul Dukinfield’s challenging total of 191-6.
The penultimate over had paved the way when 11 runs were struck, including a telling smash for six by Hey to relieve the pressure. It was left to Haris Aziz to strike the winning run in the final over, but nerves began to twitch when the first four deliveries were dot balls, only for cool-headed Aziz to pierce the field with an on-drive to secure victory. The early part of the game had been slow going for the home side as Dukinfield were kept in check by the three-pronged Prestwich pace attack of Danny Jones, Wilf Reeve and Sam Holden, and the slower artistry of Andy Bradley and Hey.
At the 25-over halfway mark, the score showed 56-2, and five overs later, it dipped to 70-4.
But Andy Gleave and pro Wade Lezar injected urgency into run-gathering.
Gleave made an unbeaten 52 and Lezar blasted a quickfire 29 to push their score towards the 200-mark. Bradley and Hey finished with identical returns of 2-38.
Hey was the cornerstone of the Prestwich reply and with good support, in particular from Jones (29) and Tom Gibson (23), the run rate was always within the compass of the Heys side.
In fact, the only time it spiralled to six an over was in the 49th over, from whence Hey excelled and Aziz added the finishing touch.
The following day, Prestwich’s Walkden Cup hopes were dashed when Woodbank handed out a 71-run defeat.
The Bury side amassed the imposing total of 251-8 and, despite a feisty rearguard display, Prestwich could never recover from 90-7, and were all out for 180. Woodbank’s innings had been built by skipper Brett Collins, who fell for 49 to the best ball of the day, as Jones deceived him with a slower delivery to trap him lbw.
Pro Lewis McIntosh then took over, making an impressive 71 before he was run out by a superb piece of fielding from Gibson on the deep cover boundary, taking the score to 160-5. However, explosive cameos from Saj Nawaz (27) and John Chapman (20) saw the score escalate well beyond the 200-mark.
Jones was the pick of the home bowling, taking 4-40.
Hey was unable to repeat his efforts of the day before, but it took a wonderful one-handed catch by Simon Read to dismiss him for 19, off the bowling of Nick Kennedy.
Jones had made another positive start but when he fell for 45, the first of Mark Stringer’s five victims, it proved a hammer blow to the Prestwich cause. However, a highly-promising innings of 28 from debutant youngster Lewis Smith, 27 from Jamie McAndrew, 18 from Reeve, and 13 not out from Bradley, ensured respectability, if not a place in the final. There was also an unfortunate injury to McIntosh, who had to go to hospital with a dislocated shoulder after he dived in vain to stop a boundary.
Prestwich face a league fixture with Flowery Field on Saturday, followed by a clash with Bury in the Lancashire Cup on Sunday with both matches on home turf.