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Prestwich secure vital victory against Woodbank
12:00pm Thursday 9th August 2012 in Sport
PRESTWICH passed one of the biggest tests of their season so far with flying colours to secure a fine win over Woodbank.
Woodbank, their 2011 Walkden Cup conquerors, provided stern opposition, but a magnificent all-round display secured a 40-run triumph.
The weather did its best to influence the outcome as a downpour midway through the Prestwich innings – with the score on 71-3 – meant the match was reduced from 50 to 43 overs.
But the Heys side were contented to have conjured up a total of 162-8 on a damp, soft wicket, which provided bowlers with plenty of assistance.
Disciplined top-order batting in the face of one of the league’s leading bowlers, Simon Read, saw Prestwich make steady progress.
Danny Jones made 17 and James Wharmby 16, but Matt Wiley dug in responsibly to hit a top score of 43.
He hit one six into the nearby school, off Read, and was only undone by a delivery from Steve Dearden which lifted and found a leading edge.
His departure with eight overs to go meant Prestwich were in need of some impetus and, not for the first time, Oliver Holt provided it.
His mix of calm defence and no-nonsense belligerence pushed the total above the 150-mark before Holt tumbled for 29, castled by Read, who finished with 5-53 from 22 sterling overs.
Facing a strong Woodbank batting artillery, Andy Taylor struck an early blow when Brett Collins was caught for one by Wiley, not adopting his normal wicketkeeping pose, but parading at mid-off instead, while Wharmby donned the gloves.
Nick Kennedy became Taylor’s second victim, lbw for eight, but a couple of textbook boundaries from 15-year-old Harry Dearden steered his side towards the 50-run mark.
Jones then snapped up the youngster for 19, with Holt taking the catch at mid-on, the first of his three catches in the match. He nearly claimed four but a great diving effort at deep square leg spilled out.
Another mini-partnership between Hanif and Nick Haynes kept the home side well in the hunt, but a flash of tactical inspiration proved pivotal to the outcome.
With spin wizard Andy Bradley absent, Jones switched from pace to spin, and the move paid off handsomely.
Hanif holed out for 18, the first of five wickets gained with his left-arm floaters.
Haynes was given out lbw for 10 for Taylor’s third wicket, and the tide was turning in Prestwich’s direction.
However, while 75-6 became 105-9, pro Dearden was still at the wicket.
A few lusty blows took the score to 122 before Jones grabbed his sixth wicket of the game when Andy Taylor took a running catch at backward point to dismiss Dearden for 33 and clinch a five-point triumph.
Jones finished with an excellent 6-64 while Taylor’s 14-over exploits earned him creditable return of 3-41, with Sam Holden picking up the remaining wicket.
Some proficient catching was also key to keeping Woodbank at bay, and the result meant Prestwich maintained their nine-point gap over nearest pursuers Glossop at the top of the Lees Lancashire County League.
Third-placed Denton St Lawrence will provide another tough challenge when they visit The Heys on Saturday.
On Sunday, an inaugural match takes place between Prestwich, last year’s Lancashire County League champions, and Uppermill, winners of last year’s Saddleworth League.
The game was postponed earlier in the season.