PROFESSIONAL Adnan Raees is pushing promotion chasing Golborne’s cricket on to the next level, believes captain Tom Pantak.

The Pakistani star led the Simpsons Fields side to a crucial eight-wicket win away at struggling Eagley on Saturday with a superb all-round display as they chased down a target of 210 well inside their available 41 overs.

Raees, a new signing from Daisy Hill for this summer, had a hand in seven of the eight wickets Golborne took in Eagley’s 209-8, including 4-57 from 15 overs of medium pace. The 37-year-old then hit 101 not out from 78 balls, sharing an unbroken 152 for the third wicket with opener Ciaran Vesey, who added a fine unbeaten 74.

Raees has 139 first-class career appearances to his name in Pakistan and was playing alongside current and former internationals Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Asif as recently as December.

For Golborne, he has now scored 398 runs and taken 18 wickets from nine appearances.

Pantak said: “He’s had two run outs, a catch and four wickets there. He’s done the pro’s job and won us the game. He’s been brilliant.

“He put on over 150 with our opener, Ciaran, to win the game. He raises the standards of everybody around him because he expects so much from you as a team-mate. You up your game as a result. It’s working really well at the minute.

“The last few weeks, he’s bowled really, really well.

“Coming out of Ramadan, I think it’s helped him. He’s been getting fifties and things, but it does take its toll.

“We have a couple of Muslim players, and they do struggle through this period. And it’s been so hot this summer. So, coming out of it, he’s had an absolutely fantastic game.”

Rain played its part on Saturday, with nine overs per side lost. But for Golborne, who reached their target with almost five overs to spare, they have managed to steal a march on their promotion rivals.

“We bowled really tight to start with, but then we went off for rain,” said Pantak. “When we got back on, we had 13.2 overs left, and it just got away from us. Their pro started hitting it, and our fielding and bowling dropped off a bit.

“They ended up posting a total which wouldn’t really have been expected to be chased. But it’s our batting that’s won us the game.

“I said at the break ‘If we want to take ourselves seriously as promotion contenders, these are the games when we’ve got to chase down the target. We’ve let it slip with the ball, now let’s grab the bull by the horns’. Fair play, that’s what we did.

“It ended up being a really good day for us.”

Fourth-placed Golborne are now within seven points of leaders Astley Bridge and six off second and third-placed Adlington and Little Lever having won five of their eight matches.