PRESTWICH suffered their first league defeat of the season against Roe Green on Saturday to dent their triple title hopes.
And when the weather thwarted the chances of a result against derby rivals Stand on Sunday, it completed a dismal weekend for the current league champions, as their closest challengers managed to fit a game in.
Saturday's short trip to Roe Green saw the home side post a mediocre total of 166-7.
Prestwich got off to an excellent start as Wilf Reeve had John Stephens caught by wicketkeeper James Wharmby for a duck, and Danny Jones had James Birch lbw without playing a shot for two.
When Justin Kenyon was snapped up by the Jones-Wharmby combination, three wickets had been lost with only 19 runs on the board. But skipper Steve Higson and the experienced Phil West staged a steady recovery, putting on 88 in 21 overs to push the total into three figures. Higson was out for 43, top-edging Carl Hey for a simple catch to Wharmby, and Hey picked up two more wickets in an excellent end-of-innings spell which cost just 19 runs from nine overs, while West remained defiant on 73 in an innings containing 11 boundaries.
Opener Jones set about the Green attack with gusto, racing to 39 in 30 balls before playing one aggressive shot too many to his brother Chris, and holed out to Gareth Williams on the leg-side boundary.
Three more wickets fell cheaply, as professional Hey, the previous week’s centurion Sam Holden and the unlucky Wharmby fell to loose judgement. Tom Gibson dug in while Oliver Holt played with typical fluency to take the visitors from 67-4 to 101 until Chris Jones stuck for the third time to have Holt lbw for 26. Professional Andy Hough had given little away at the opposing end and was getting the occasional ball to turn sharply from his left arm round delivery, and that ended Gibson’s stubborn stay for nine, and accounted for Tom Scott for five.
When Hough clipped Tousuf Miran’s off stump and had Reeve caught by West, Prestwich had slumped to 133-9.
However, the experienced duo of Steve Orrell and skipper Andy Bradley began to eat into runs-wanted column, including two boundaries from Orrell and a four from Bradley.
That took them within 12 runs of the target when Hough’s ball rapped Orrell’s pads and he was given lbw for 25, leaving Bradley 11 not out, and Hough brandishing the excellent figures of 7-38.
The only silver lining was that Lancashire County League leaders Denton West were also beaten.
However, the heavy showers spoiled Prestwich’s salvage mission the following day as the pitch covers were dragged on and off at frequent intervals.
After a handful of attempts Stand had reached 110-3 from 25.1 overs, thanks sizeable contributions of 20 from Rick Rothwell, 38 from Sean Brookes and an unbeaten 38 from Dave Taylor, when one final blast of rain brought an end to a tedious day, when the weather was the sole winner and the points were shared.
Prestwich face a trip to Stretford in the league on Saturday, followed by their most high-profile game of the season on Sunday when they play host to high-flyers Bamford Fieldhouse in the quarter-final of the prestigious Lancashire Cup.