PRESTWICH endured a rollercoaster weekend as the high of a league victory was followed by the low of a Walkden Cup exit.
A comfortable seven-wicket victory over Denton on Saturday kept the Heys’ side on the coattails of league leaders Glossop, with Carl Hey making an unbeaten 75 and Ryan Stanbury claiming four wickets.
But Sunday’s quarter-final clash with Thornham saw the visitors overhaul Prestwich’s below-par total of 184 with seven balls to spare.
The league clash with Denton resulted in the visitors totting up 171-8, which had looked an unlikely figure at one stage after Stanbury grabbed the first four Denton wickets to fall, with only 37 on the board.
Ryan Halpin and Karl Taylor forged a mini-stand of 29, before Lewis Jarvis struck to remove Halpin for 29, caught by wicketkeeper James Wharmby, and Andy Bradley had Taylor caught by Tom Scott on the leg-side boundary for 27. It was left to Sam Neill to give the innings some late impetus with an unbeaten 37 to push the score from 99-7 to 171-8, although the innings ended in bizarre circumstances.
Tom Gibson took a straightforward catch at cover off the last ball of the 50-over allocation to seemingly dismiss Stamper.
However, it was revealed by an umpire during the tea interval, Prestwich’s failure to “appeal” meant Denton were given an additional run and Stamper was deemed not out. Wharmby made a fluent start in Prestwich’s reply, making 27 out of 34 until the wily Andrew Neill bowled him.
But Gibson continued his fine vein of form with a competent 48 in a partnership of 107 runs with Hey, which paved the way for victory.
He fell just two short of his half century with the score on 141, but Hey racked up his second successive league 50, and finished on 75 not out, with nine boundaries.
A couple of sixes from Ali Raza lifted Prestwich over the finish line with seven overs to spare.
Prestwich batted first in Sunday’s cup clash and despite the loss of Hey for 24, they made steady progress to 91-1, at the halfway stage.
However, Gibson’s dismissal – stumped for 29 – sparked a rewarding period for Thornham, and Andy Micklethwaite in particular, who sent four of the middle order packing in his 10-over spell at a cost of just 26 runs.
Raza struck a breezy 32 and David Taylor made 19, but tight bowling put the clamps on any late-order flourish and Prestwich were ousted for 184.
Thornham made a slow reply in the face of accurate opening blasts from Sam Holden, who took an early wicket, and Scott. But opener Liam Grey showed the way for the visitors with a composed 43. He was the fourth wicket to fall, at which point, Thornham were behind the run rate on 71 after 25 overs. But captain James Scott and Micklethwaite staged a match-turning stand of 87.
Scott made 53 off 64 balls before falling to Holden, but Tom Grey’s quickfire 21, together with Micklethwaite’s unbeaten 43, earned Thornham a passage into the semi-finals.
Two top-of-the-table clashes await Prestwich this weekend when Woodbank are the visitors to The Heys on Saturday, followed by a journey to leaders Glossop on Sunday.