SAME again please was the request from Prestwich captain Andy Bradley as his side go into this weekend’s double-header on the back of a dominant display at Flowery Field.
The Heys Road men put in their best batting performance of the season to post 305-5 – Sam Holden laying the foundation with 82 before Zac Wood (57 not out) and Ali Raza (46no) smashed 100 off the final nine overs.
They went on to bowl out their hosts for 222, with professional Carl Hey taking 6-75 to help Prestwich claim an 83-run victory and the all-important bonus point.
The maximum five points moved Bradley’s side up two places to fifth in the Central Lancashire League table – back into the qualification spots for the Lancashire Knockout and to within 14 points of leaders Denton St Lawrence.
“If we play like that every week then I have no doubt we will win all of our remaining matches,” said Bradley.
“That would hopefully put some pressure on Denton St Lawrence, although, realistically, it looks like second place is probably the best we can hope for.
“You can never say never though as we absolutely smashed Denton at their place earlier in the season.
“If we can repeat that trick when they visit us, then we would only need them to slip up in one other match to bridge the gap – as long as we keep on winning.”
It may not be quite as simple as that, with just six points separating Glossop in second place and Dukinfield in seventh.
Prestwich, who are in the middle of that chasing pack, travel to Dukinfield on Saturday aiming to cement their position in the Lancs KO places before hosting second-bottom Cheetham Hill on Sunday.
“For me, qualifying for the Lancs Knockout has to be the minimum requirement,” said the 40 year-old captain, who has led the side for the past two years and is eager to reclaim the title the club last won in 2011.
“I believe, with the talent and the resources we have at our disposal, we should be challenging for the title every season and it is frustrating we are not closer to the leaders.
“Our problem has been building a total, but on Saturday every one of our batsmen took responsibility.
“Opener James Wharmby got us going with 36 and Sam Holden weighed in with his best knock of the season.
“He helped build a foundation in the first 40 overs and then, with wickets in hand, we were able to let loose.
“Sam started it, hitting 22 in the 41st over, before Zac and Ali picked up the baton.”
Despite putting themselves in a strong position, Bradley was still forced to shuffle his pack to gain the maximum points.
“Flowery Field were actually going along quite strongly in reply before I took off the seamers and put myself and Carl on,” he added.
“We managed to stem their run rate before Carl started to pick up regular wickets and I managed to get a couple.
“They were never really in it after that so we started to bowl the ball up, tempting them to slog out so we could claim the bonus point.
“Their last man took the bait and hit 50 from 19 balls before Ryan Stanbury came back to finish them off.”