Prestwich CC in final flourish

IT was not quite a bed of roses for Prestwich Cricket Club’s first team this season, but they rounded off by harvesting victory over Flowery Field.

And it was significant that their 69-run triumph was a team effort, which has underpinned their season’s battling performances.

Despite suffering only four league defeats, a combination of fewer maximum-point victories and more rain-affected games has meant a fourth-place spot in the Lees Lancashire County League.

Saturday’s final match saw them travel to Flowery Field where they set a target of 199.

James Wharmby topped the scoring charts with 39, but it was a fine middle order innings of 36 from Tousif Miran, playing his last game before moving abroad, which helped the innings blossom.

There was also a notable landmark for professional Carl Hey, whose knock of 23 took him beyond the 1,200-run mark for the season in all games, setting a club record.

Unfortunately, Tom Gibson missed out on qualifying for the league averages by just two runs, after hitting 29, but still did not dampen a highly-productive finish to the season for the 20-year-old.

Haris Aziz opened the innings and made a solid 17, following on from his second-team century the previous week, while there were lower order contributions from Oliver Holt and Steve Orrell, who both made 15.

Flowery pro Ghulam Abbas extracted spin and bounce from the wicket to reap a six-wicket haul at a cost of just 36 runs. Wilf Reeve grabbed the opening wicket of Flowery skipper Neil Mistry for eight, well caught at second slip by Hey.

But despite tidy opening spells from Reece and Sam Holden, it was only when the spin duo of Andy Bradley and Hey came to the fore that wickets started to tumble at regular intervals, including that of opener Harry Gee for 37.

Hey took the bulk of the victims, finishing with 5-32, and skipper Bradley returned 2-20 off 13 overs.

Abbas ended unbeaten on 19 as Flowery finished well adrift of the total, but hung on at 130-9 to deprive Prestwich of a maximum five points.

Indeed, the failure to grab the final wicket could indeed sum up their season: so near yet so far.

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