PRESTWICH removed a significant monkey from their backs with an 82-run victory at arch-rivals Woodbank in Saturday’s GMCL Premier Division clash.

Professional and opener Ali Azmat (66) and Dan Pawson (84) shared 121 for the second wicket, underpinning a score of 231 after the hosts had elected to bowl.

Captain Sam Holden (29) later shared 43 for the seventh wicket with Dan Ahern (26) after a middle-order wobble on a pitch which dried out and became harder to bat on.

In reply, Woodbank were rarely in the hunt as new ball seamer Ryan Stanbury and off-spinner Andy Bradley claimed three wickets apiece in 149 all out.

It was Prestwich’s first win in four matches against Woodbank, with Holden admitting the frustration cuts a touch deeper: “It was good to get the win against them, especially away. I can’t remember winning there.

“It was good to get a bonus point as well. It helps us out.

“Both Ali and Dan batted really well. They weren’t gung-ho, they just took advantage of the loose deliveries and kept us ticking along really nicely.

“That’s only the second time we’ve got over 200 in the league this season.

“The wicket was really soft given the amount of rain we’d had, so getting up to 230 on that was good.

“When it dried out, it started to spin and became it difficult to bat on.”

Woodbank and Prestwich are now separated by only a point in fifth and sixth in the table.

They are out of title contention with six games to go, but the gap between Prestwich and second-placed Greenfield is only six points (a bonus-point win).

Pawson added: “The way the league’s panning out at the minute, we’re close to second, but we’re also not a million miles away from relegation (21 points).

“So second or third would be nice, but realistically now I’d be happy to consolidate at this stage of the season.”

On Sunday, GMCL T20 champions Prestwich were beaten in the T20 area semi-final at Cheshire County League side Toft.