PRESTWICH lost the battle of the big guns at Heys Road on Saturday.
The hosts suffered an 82-run defeat, having won the opening exchange of fire against the reigning Lancashire County League champions, Denton West.
Four batsmen had been sent packing with the score on 38, before West captain Mark Berry and George Hill took to the crease.
The duo went on the attack, leaving the home side to lick their wounds.
A spectacular partnership of 157 in 26 overs transformed the game until Hill was caught by Zak Wood at deep mid-wicket for a fine 65.
Berry continued peppering the boundary boards and reached his century in 92 balls, finally being removed when Ryan Stanbury clutched onto another bullet-like drive at deep long-on for 112.
Yet it had looked a different story two hours earlier when Tom Gibson again showed his outstanding ability in the field with a superb strike at the stumps to run out John Barnett.
He also had a more straightforward task to catch Nick Doyle for 12 off the bowling of the pacy Sam Holden, who then removed Andy O’Brien first ball via a bottom edge, despite falling flat on his face doing so.
When skipper Andy Bradley bowled John McAllister for four, the home side were ruling the roost, but the Hill/Berry onslaught was just around the corner.
The slow-arm duo of Carl Hey and Bradley helped restrain any major fireworks at the end of the West innings, but a target of 263 was still going to be one of the Heys men’s biggest challenges of the year.
West pro Steve Oddy made Prestwich’s task even tougher by removing both in-form openers Hey and James Wharmby with just nine on the board.
Gibson and Holden each made 12 to make Prestwich’s score of 42-4 – almost a mirror-image of the West beginning.
However, despite a solid innings of 30 from teenager Wood and a rapid blast of 35 from Stanbury, Prestwich were in danger of falling woefully short at 102-6.
Some late-order contributions pushed the score up to a respectable total of 181, but the target was never threatened, and their last shot was fired when Lewis Jarvis was caught by Barnett, off centurion Berry, for 18.
Oddy took six wickets, during an exemplary 22-over spell which returned figures of 6-71, and West returned home with the five-points.
Prestwich begin the second half of the season with a trip to Woodhouses on Saturday before travelling to Bolton League side Little Lever on Sunday in the Lancashire Knockout.