EDENFIELD took a significant step towards promotion from Division Two B in the GMCL with a six-run victory over leaders Friarmere on Saturday.

Chasing a 152 target, hosts Friarmere slipped to 145 all out inside 40 overs to lose for the first time in 16 games this season.

They fell from 134-7, with Edenfield professional Paul Gallagher – 4-17 from five overs – taking two of the last three wickets.

It now means with six games to play, second-placed Edenfield are nine points clear of South West Manchester with a maximum of six for a win.

Those two play each other in the final round of fixtures next month.

Edenfield are also now six points behind leaders Friarmere, with captain Adam Barnes admitting: “It would be the cherry on the top if we were to win the league.

“But target number one is to go up. That would be fantastic for the club.”

Pro Gallagher and Barnes (32) shared 48 inside 15 overs for the first wicket, with the former going on to top-score with 55 off 139 balls.

In reply, new-ball quick Andrew Rushton claimed 3-37 from 15 overs, including the wicket of Friarmere pro and opener Adrian du Toit for 45, leaving the score at 72-3 after 18 overs.

Overseas amateur Christian MacDonald also claimed two wickets to add to Gallagher’s four-for.

“It was a really good performance in what was a nail-biter – and it was pleasing to be able to inflict Friarmere’s first defeat of the season,” said Barnes.

“We got put in on what was quite a tough pitch. It was very slow, and the ball stuck in.

“Friarmere bowled some decent areas and put in a good performance in the first half. But we managed to graft our way up to near 160.

“At the time, I knew it was going to be competitive and it would always go down to the wire.

“They have a very good professional in Adrian du Toit, and we had to get him to have a chance. And we bowled to a plan and did.

“Andrew (Rushton) set the tone and bowled 15 overs on the reel. He led the attack really well and deserved the wickets he got, including the big one.

“Then our professional, Paul, and overseas, Christian, came on and bowled exceptionally well and took us to victory. That’s exactly what you want from those two. You want them winning games.

“I said to the boys at half time and before the game, ‘Teams around us are playing teams towards the bottom, so this could be a season-defining fixture’.

“I’m pleased we went away, took that on board and dealt with the pressure of it.

“We put Friarmere’s batsmen under pressure. They played some poor shots and maybe didn’t handle the occasion as well as we did.”

“It was really good to see from our boys, who are coming of age and can make that final push to at least finish in the top two and get promoted – maybe even take the title.

“Teams around us have got to play each other, and we are in control I guess. But we have to keep going. We have six to play, and we’re aiming to win all six.”