SAM Holden has hailed the form of opening batsman James Wharmby as Prestwich strengthen their case for silverware this summer.

Captain Holden has seen Wharmby, also their wicketkeeper, amass scores of 154 and 208 in the GMCL’s Premier League and cup competitions recently.

He only scored 14 in Saturday’s four-wicket league win at home to Denton St Lawrence, but he averages an impressive 58.58 from 13 innings and has 708 runs to his name.

Wharmby scored 208 off 148 balls against a Clifton side including former Lancashire duo Gareth Cross and Steven Cheetham in the Derek Kay Cup on June 23, a win which secured a quarter-final berth.

On June 9, in the league, he hit 154 off 144 to underpin a thumping victory over Greenmount.

“James is nearly on 1,000 runs halfway through the summer. Most batsmen aspire to that by the end of the year,” enthused Holden.

“He’s my age, 24/25, and has played for the first team since he was 15, so he knows his way around and is massively important for us.

“But he’s never had 1,000 runs in a year. He will this!”

On Saturday, it was Holden who starred with the bat as his 59-ball 83 from number five, coming in at 53-3, underpinned a pursuit of 205 with 2.4 overs to spare.

Earlier, off-spinner Nathan Bailey starred with 5-45 from 10.4 overs as Denton were bowled out for 204.

Prestwich are now third and only five points behind leaders Flixton after seven wins from 10. They have already beaten them once this summer and host the return clash on July 14.

“It was a fantastic win against a good Denton team," said Holden.

“They won the toss and batted, which is what we would have done.

“Nathan got another five-fer and has been brilliant for us.

“We also have an opening bowler who couldn’t play for the first quarter of the season due to his Masters, Wilf Reeve. He took six wickets last weekend and two up front again on Saturday. He got their two opening batsmen.

“Chasing, James Wharmby was out early, and we went into our shell. When I went in, we were 50-odd for three, but the run-rate was an issue. I went in in the 22nd or 23rd over.

"I just tried to be positive. It came off, thankfully. It was a really difficult pitch. There was extra bounce from one end. Anything bowled back of a length, it was difficult to get bat on.

“I do like to get on with it, but perhaps not usually as much as I did on Saturday.

“Lee Dale, who was also got 54, kind of followed suit in the end because he opened and couldn’t get away. But that’s his fourth 50 in the last month. He’s batting really well."

Adding to Prestwich’s chances of success, they are into their T20 quarter-finals, a competition in which Wharmby averages 84 after a couple of useful contributions.

“We’re doing really well,” added Holden. “But trying to keep our feet on the ground. We’ll keep plodding on and see where we get to.”