PRESTWICH Cricket Club’s second XI held their nerve on the last day of the season to lift the Greater Manchester Cricket League Division Three title in the competition’s first year.

Their six-point victory at Heywood – overhauling a target of 115 for the loss of just two wickets – ensured they won the championship outright.

Anything less would have meant a share of the title with Glossop.

Heywood had looked set to post a far bigger total when they were 109-4, but the dismissal of Wesley Hunt for 63 saw six wickets tumble for just six runs.

Stephen Ritchie and Oliver Holt took four wickets each, while Nathan Bailey chipped in with two wickets.

It soon became clear Glossop were on their way to a six-point success, so Prestwich could not afford to lose more than three wickets to claim the all-important bonus point.

Lewis Smith and Jack Doyle put on an opening stand of 51, before Joe Humphreys trapped Doyle for nine.

Haris Aziz added further support to Smith before being bowled for 12, but with the score on 83 there was still work to be done.

Holt proved the ideal man to assist the rampant Smith, starting off with a superbly-timed drive for four to signal he was fully tuned in to the task.

Smith, unbeaten on 70, and Holt (14 not out) saw the team home to kick off the celebrations.

Captain Peter Lorenzini said winning the league was a great achievement in the competition’s first year.

“Moving into Division Two will be a big step up next year as it’s a first-team league, so we’ll be playing against teams with professionals and very talented amateurs, but the lads are already looking forward to the challenge,” Lorenzini added.

With just seven games to go Prestwich were 11 points behind the league leaders, but from that point onwards they dropped just two points from a possible 42 to win the league by a single point.

Off-spinner Nick Carter topped the league bowling averages and Lewis Smith the batting.

Lorenzini also praised the dedication of all players at the club – the first team finished runners-up in the Premier League – which he said was an important factor in his team’s success.

He said: “The first XI and the second XI teams fielded the same 22 players for five consecutive Saturdays in August, a level of commitment I believe is unique at this level and is something special, which Prestwich Cricket Club can be proud about.”