PRESTWICH kept up the pressure on league leaders Denton West with a maximum five-point haul against rivals Denton.
Skipper Andy Bradley overcame a bruised leg to lead the way with a five-wicket return while Steve Orrell top scored with 61 to help post a total of 181-8 in 45 overs.
It was with some trepidation that the visitors went out to bat on a green Denton wicket, but the opening duo of Orrell and James Wharmby made solid progress.
With Danny Jones now departed for Dubai, Orrell stepped up to the opener’s slot. While Jones might be given ‘finest’ status in the world of supermarket speak, Orrell has his own basic brand of batting – but nevertheless proved of good value.
After an early peppering of the third man area, he settled in with Wharmby to stage an excellent 88-run partnership in 25 overs, until the rain decided to intervene.
Indeed, Wharmby was in smashing form – a six through the window of a house sited beyond the deep mid-on boundary was testament to this.
He had made a sure-footed 44 until he was caught trying another six, this time off Karl Taylor, shortly after the restart in which five overs were lost.
Orrell continued with a series of boundaries, clocking up his half century with an extra cover drive for four, and celebrated with a six over cover in the same over. When he checked out for 61, caught and bowled by Jamie Garde (4-61), wickets tumbled at regular intervals as the clamour for quick runs heightened in the latter overs. But Tom Scott provided the late impetus required with a quickfire 27 not out, which included a big six into the houses.
With Sam Holden unavailable and Wilf Reeve unable to bowl, Scott soon swapped his bat for the ball and claimed an early victim when Garde snicked to wicketkeeper Wharmby with the score on six. Bradley, whose blackened leg had taken the brunt end of a Holden drive during training, then had Steve Wharton pinned lbw without playing a shot, and when Scott grabbed his second wicket, thanks to a catch by Tom Kelly at mid-on, Denton were 18-3.
Scott was replaced after his opening salvo by Carl Hey, and he took three wickets for 37 runs while Bradley grabbed the lion’s share, taking five scalps at a cost of just 33 runs, and Denton were defeated by an 88-run margin. With four games remaining in the Lancashire County League, Denton West still hold a nine-point advantage, but Prestwich seek to continue their title pursuit with victory over Denton St Lawrence on Saturday.