PRESTWICH got back on the winning trail before losing out in a war of attrition with the league leaders.
The Heys side inflicted a 28-run defeat on rivals Roe Green on Saturday before losing out to title favourites Denton St Lawrence (DSL) on Sunday, although it was closer than the six-wicket margin of victory.
What the weekend did show was that Prestwich have found their middle-order resilience which has deserted them at crucial times this season.
And they needed that steely resolve at Roe Green as the home side had early pressure. To use a footballing cliche, it was an innings of two halves.
Halfway through this 46-over match, Prestwich were 35-2, as Roe pro Andy Hough and Justin Kenyon bowled tightly and gave few scoring opportunities.
But Prestwich pro Carl Hey and Sam Holden then stepped on the gas after the drinks interval, and even though Hey was dismissed for 21, Holden was joined by Ali Raza on 94-3, and 161 runs were racked up from the remaining 23 overs.
Holden’s innings of 74 was well crafted, accelerating in fine style and included six boundaries and two sixes.
Raza was even more flamboyant in a 74-run partnership, reaching a deserved 50 in just 38 balls.
Chasing a target of 198, Roe Green fell behind the rate when Ryan Stanbury and captain Andy Bradley put on a mid-order squeeze, but with knocks of 39 from Hough and 32 from Steve Higson, the home side were still in with a shout. Wicketkeeper Wharmby took a fine one-handed catch to dismiss Needham, off Stanbury’s bowling, for a duck, and Holden bowled both Barker for 30 and Chris Jones for a quickfire 12.
Bradley took his fifth wicket of the day when he trapped Unwin lbw in the final over to earn Prestwich all five points.
This was Bradley’s 50th five-wicket haul for the first team, putting him one behind the record-holder Bob Hinchliffe.
Sunday’s game at The Heys against DSL proved a dogged and gritty contest on a tricky wicket with exaggerated bounce. Batting first, Prestwich again found themselves in a precarious position, with four batsmen in the pavilion for 40 and the score registered a mere 56 after 30 overs.
Hey was again at the core of the recovery, and Raza continued his good vein, so the run rate increased before Hey was finally outdone by an unplayable lifter from Nadeem for a grafting 33.
Raza followed shortly after for a valuable 36, with a late 12 not out from Steve Orrell helping to boost the total beyond the 140-mark.
Ben Tighe was the main destroyer for the visitors, with a remarkable return of 6-29 from 20 overs.
A chancey innings from Mark Dilnutt gave DSL a good springboard for their reply, as he made 59 before being bowled by Bradley. While the Prestwich attack made it uncomfortable for all the visiting batsmen, the DSL top order stuck doggedly to the task, all reaching double figures, and hunted down the target with 10 overs to spare, despite three wickets for Bradley (3-54) and a victim for Lewis Jarvis.
Prestwich have four league games remaining, and will be aiming keep their top-five position with a visit to Denton on Saturday.