PRESTWICH CC: Rain delays big cup quarter final

First published in Sport

PRESTWICH were left cursing the rain which forced the abandonment of their prestigious Lancashire Cup quarter-final tie on Sunday.

The clash against Saddleworth League giants Bamford Fieldhouse was finely balanced when the heavens opened and washed out the game.

Prestwich had set a total of 180-6 from their 45 overs, and the visitors were 21-2 in reply, from five overs, when players scurried from the field.

The game will now be re-staged from scratch at The Heys this Sunday.

It was a frustrating end to the day as the game in front of a healthy crowd had the hallmarks of being a cracker.

Prestwich had earlier made steady progress with an opening stand of 42 from Danny Jones (17) and James Wharmby (24), but a triple strike by Marlon Black saw the home side plummet to 48-4. Oliver Holt joined Carl Hey and, in typically brisk fashion, Holt powered seven boundaries in a partnership which took the score past the three-figure mark.

Holt was bowled for 38, and Tom Scott suffered the same fate for five.

At 122-6, with six overs left, Hey and Steve Orrell staged an entertaining final flourish, cracking a further 58 runs.

Hey finished on 51 not out while Orrell struck an unbeaten 30 off 23 balls.

When Jones flattened Josh Tolley’s middle stump for nine and Wilf Reeve bowled Grant Hodnett for two, the match was set for a humdinger – until the raindrops arrived in heavyweight fashion.

The weather has not fallen kindly for the Heys side so far this season, as their league title aspirations have twice been hindered by rained-off games when their closest rivals have managed to complete their matches.

Fortunately, there had been no weather-related problems the previous day, when Prestwich travelled to Stretford and gained a four-point victory – in a game in which all bar one of the wickets to fall were taken by spin bowlers. The Heys side amassed a total of 230-7 with Sam Holden top scoring on 61, made off 63 balls and including three sixes and three fours.

There was good support throughout the top order as Jones cracked 10 boundaries, before being caught by Rob Grant just one short of his half century.

Hey made 28 and Wharmby 24, while Tom Gibson kept the runs ticking over with 27 not out.

Left-arm spinner Carl Parkinson was the stand-out bowler for the home side, taking 5-67 from 18 overs.

Stretford made a solid start to their reply with Chris Laker and Parkinson staging a 61-run opening stand before Laker was caught by Hey off skipper Andy Bradley’s bowling for 27.

Pro Adam Hewitt made 29 and Wasim Zafar 25, while Parkinson completed a fine all-round match top scoring with 44.

But the run rate had spiralled and the Stretford reply never threatened the target, finishing on 195-8, 35 runs adrift.

Left-armer Hey took the bowling plaudits with a 5-45 haul while Bradley returned figures of 3-62.

After the victory, Prestwich remain second in the Lancashire County League though Woodbank are now level on points after they gained a five-point triumph. Thornham are the visitors to The Heys on Saturday as Prestwich seek to keep on the coat tails of the pacesetters.

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