PRESTWICH put a bit of ‘gloss’ on their weekend after a comprehensive defeat of the league leaders.
An unbeaten 79 from James Wharmby and a half-century from Carl Hey saw them chase down a target of 145 set by table-topping Glossop with 20 overs to spare.
The Sunday victory came as a timely boost for Prestwich who had lost out to Woodbank in a closely-fought contest 24 hours earlier.
It leaves Prestwich in sixth place in the Lancashire County League, but just eight points behind new leaders Denton St Lawrence.
A mere nine points cover the top seven clubs in what promises to be one of the tightest title battles in years.
With three Saturday home games wiped out already this season, rain predictably played its part again last weekend.
However, when the game – reduced to 30 overs per side – got underway, the home side had to battle hard for runs on a difficult pitch.
Woodbank’s experienced all-rounder Steve Dearden finished with a five-wicket haul as the Heys side reached 136-8, with Tom Gibson the highlight, providing the gel to the innings in making a gritty 42 before being caught off the last ball.
Wharmby made 25, while Zak Wood and Dave Taylor struck a few late boundaries to set Woodbank an asking rate of 4.5 runs an over for victory.
Sam Holden and Ryan Stanbury struck early to remove both openers with just seven on the board, but Harry Dearden and David Bell built a 61-run partnership, which was ended by a brilliant pick-up and throw from the swooping Gibson to run out Dearden for 38.
Bell progressed to 50 while Saj Nawaz made 27 to push the visitors to the brink of success, but both perished in the penultimate over, and it suddenly left seven runs required from the final over.
Lewis McIntosh plundered a four from the first ball and hit the winning run, with just one delivery remaining.
Sunday’s trip to Glossop saw the home side reduced to 14-3 within seven overs.
Professional Lee Dale edged a Holden delivery skywards over Steve Orrell at backward point, but he turned and scurried back to take an excellent sprawling catch over his head.
Pennington nicked the ball into the gloves of Wharmby from a Stanbury delivery, and Holden bowled Joe Moss for a duck.
The fine opening bursts from Holden and Stanbury were replicated by the slower pace of spin duo Andy Bradley and Hey as Bradley grabbed three middle-order wickets at a cost of 32 runs from 14 overs.
Hey conceded just 18 runs from his nine overs, with the reward of the wicket of John Stopford.
Alex Coates top scored with 27, but the Glossop tail wagged, with Oliver Kenyon undefeated on 24 and Mark Usher 19 not out, to deprive Prestwich of the final wicket.
An exemplary opening stand of 129 between Wharmby and Hey all but sealed victory for the visitors, with both batsmen showing excellent placement and strokeplay.
Hey reached his 50 in 66 balls before he was caught by Coates – his third half century in the last three league matches.
Wharmby twice put the ball over the boundary ropes and finished unbeaten on 79, with another nine fours to his name.
The season reaches its halfway point on Saturday with the visit to current champions Denton West to The Heys.