Joe Cooper Stars As Hale Barns First XI Start 2018 With A Win

Hale Barns First XI announced their arrival in the Cheshire County Cricket League Division 2 with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory against fellow-promoted side Runcorn.

All-rounder Joe Cooper starred with bat and ball, taking four wickets before easing Barns to the required total with an unbeaten 45 as the hosts made a perfect start to the season.

New captain Ben Hicks led by example by claiming the first dismissal of the campaign with just 11 on the board, finding a way through the defences of Liam Keenan for 1.

Veteran Dave Saddington (2-20) then opened his account by sending opener Ryan Beech (16) back to the pavilion and soon doubled his tally, while Hicks (4-31) was in devastating form at the other end, adding three more victims to restrict the visitors to 36-6.

Will Magee and D.J. McNamara recovered the situation, building a healthy partnership for the seventh-wicket, accumulating 39 runs together until Cooper got in on the act to remove Magee for 22.

And once McNamara was out for 33, there was very little resistance remaining for Runcorn as Cooper cleaned up the tail, finishing with figures of 4-30 to leave Barns required 109 to win.

In reply, the home team wasted no time in chasing down the target, with overseas debutant Campbell Vadlja and Cooper displaying signs of a promising opening pairing, putting on 71 before Vadlja was stumped for 25.

Mike Hunter arrived at the crease and ensured there would not be any wobbles with a steady 9 not out, while Cooper remained positive, clearing the ropes twice along with three boundaries as Barns cruised to victory in just 24.1 overs.

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