IN-FORM professional Gihahn Cloete played another starring role for Prestwich as they pulled off a superb four-wicket victory at Northern Premier League leaders Blackpool to make the last 16 of the Lancashire Knockout.

The South African opener scored his first century of the season in the victory over Walshaw the previous weekend and followed that up with an unbeaten 52 as Andy Bradley's men swept past the hosts' score of 144-8 with 13 overs to spare.

His match-winning innings continued a marked recent improvement for the 24-year-old Cape Province batsman, who has finally acclimatised to the English conditions, according to the Prestwich skipper, after a series of below-par knocks early in the campaign.

"He (Cloete) is getting used to the pitches now," said Bradley.

"They are obviously a lot slower than he is used to playing on back home and it has taken him a while to get his head around that.

"But he has started to figure it out and is looking really good."

A disciplined display from the Prestwich bowlers put them in a good position, as Blackpool were restricted to a run-rate of just 3.2 an over.

Spinner Nathan Bailey returned the best figures of 3-22 from his nine overs, which included two maidens, while Bradley and Wilf Reeve both claimed two wickets.

But it needed a steady hand from Cloete to help Prestwich past their target after an early wobble saw them fall to 18-3.

He put on 67 for the fourth wicket with Ryan Stanbury (40), and while two further wickets fell the visitors always looked likely to progress while their pro remained at the crease.

Prestwich remain in the hunt for a place in the final, which will be played at Old Trafford, although they face another tough trip to Pennine League Premiership leaders Norden in the next round.

But Bradley believes his players have the belief and determination to make it all the way.

"We played really well on Sunday, we were especially good in the field and with the ball," he said.

"If we match those levels I feel confident we can give any side a game.

"Obviously, Norden are a good team, they have to be to have made it this far, but I am very happy with the way the side is coming together now and I am looking forward to the next round.

"With the final being at Old Trafford we want to get as far as we can in a competition that has really captured the players' imagination.

"It is only in the last few years that we have taken the LCB Knockout seriously.

"I think social media has had a part to play in that. There is more of a buzz surrounding it. The information is there at your finger-tips, and the players are talking about it more."

The LCB Knockout is also the only cup competition Prestwich have a chance of winning after they fell to their second defeat in as many matches in the GMCL20 last Friday, going down by seven wickets at home to Winton Warriors after the visitors chased down their total of 124-7.

"It is shame as there were 200 spectators down at the ground," said Bradley.

"We should have the players to do well in the T20 format as we have some big hitters in the team, but we just don't seem to be that good at it.

"Our bowlers have kept it tight in both matches, but we have not been able to post a score.

"We have an idea how we can put it right, and it is something we will work on for next year.

"The club have got it right in terms of putting on a show, with a barbecue going and music blaring out. It was a good night, apart from the result."

Prestwich are bottom of pool four and unable to progress with one match remaining, at home to Roe Green next Friday (June 23).

They also face Roe Green on Saturday, away from home in the GMCL Premier Division. One point separates the two sides, who are both mid-table after last weekend's matches were abandoned due to rain.