PRESTWICH CC: Thirds triumph in Hodson Cup final

The victorious Prestwich 3rd XI

The victorious Prestwich 3rd XI

First published in Cricket

IT was agony and ecstasy for Prestwich CC when two teams contested finals on the same day.

A brilliant 116 not out from Nick Carter inspired the third team to Hodson Cup glory against Clifton on Sunday.

But the second team lost out in a last-over nail-biter for the Hulme Trophy against Flowery Field.

The weather caused disruptions to both games, forcing a reduction in overs, but it proved no handicap to the thirds, whose game was played at the neutral venue of East Lancs Paper Mill.

Batting first, the Heys team lost two early wickets to make it 13-2, and even when Joe Murphy was bowled for nine with the score on 67, Carter had already stamped his mark.

Tom Ward made a circumspect 10 to take the score to 94, but the innings began to gather real momentum when Carter was joined by Mike Dennett, who made 26 in a key fifth-wicket partnership of 79.

A latter 10-over flourish saw the score spiral to 186-6, from 40 overs.

Carter clocked up his century with a six from a full toss and he cracked a total of 11 boundaries and five sixes in his unbeaten 91-ball innings.

In reply, David Smith (1-15) and Karl West (2-19) bowled excellent opening eight-over spells, after which Clifton were behind the run rate on 34-3.

Carter was involved again, catching opener Royal, while Smith had Rudd caught by wicketkeeper Daniel Ahern, and Ward dived forward to scoop up a fine catch to dismiss Darcy for one, giving West his second wicket.

Ward then claimed the fourth scalp, with a rising delivery superbly caught by the 14-year-old keeper Ahern, who had an excellent game behind the stumps, taking three catches and a stumping.

Ward bowled a mean spell of six overs, with a superb return of 3-9, but you just couldn’t keep Carter out of the game, as his spin reaped three wickets (3-26), and the man-of -the match award was a formality.

It was left to 17-year-old Calum Percival to kickstart the celebrations by bowling Barton for 19 and Clifton were 101 all out, 85 runs adrift of the target, giving just reward for a fine team performance, superbly led by their captain Brian Ahern.

In the Hulme Trophy final at Flowery Field, the second team had found it hard going when they took to the crease first on a greenish pitch, losing wickets at regular intervals amidst interruptions for bad weather.

Indeed, batting proved difficult throughout the match, as no batsman on either side reached 30.

At 66-4 with 25 overs gone, and then losing eight overs due to a rain break, Prestwich did well to post a total of 150-9 from 42 overs, with double-figure contributions right down the order.

In reply, Flowery looked in cruise control at 64-1 before some excellent bowling by Oli Holt and Nathan Bailey dragged Prestwich back into the game.

They sparked a raft of wickets with Holt taking 3-25 and Bailey 2-31, and the home side dipped to 97-6, needing around seven runs an over.

With 12 to win off the final over, Flowery skipper and man of the match Andy Barber hit for the fourth ball for six to tie the scores and the winning run came off the penultimate ball of a thrilling and well-contested game.

The seconds will now set their sights on making amends by winning the Divison Two title, which they currently lead.

Saturday was a day to forget for Prestwich’s first team, as they plunged to a 112-run home defeat at the hands of bottom-of-the-table Stretford.

The visitors outplayed the home side and fully deserved the victory.

But it once again showed Prestwich’s Jekyll and Hyde character with their worst display of the season.

Streford amassed 233-9 from their 50 overs, with only Lewis Jarvis showing his true form, taking an excellent haul of 6-46.

But the Prestwich batsmen then floundered against the guile of talented youngster Muhammad, who bowled 15 overs and returned outstanding figures of 8-33.

Ali Raza heralded a brief recovery for the home side, having gone to the wicket with the score on 19-4, making 38, but that was a rare spark in a dismal overall display.

Prestwich remain fifth in the Lancashire County League with six games remaining, and only a vast improvement will see them remain in the top half.

A trip to rivals Roe Green on Saturday is followed by a home clash against league leaders Denton St Lawrence on Sunday.

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