Hale Barns First XI suffered a disappointing three-wicket defeat at home to Northwich CC, but gained revenge the following day with a victory that sends the team into the Cheshire Shield final.
Barns lost their opening wicket with just 15 runs on the board, but Joe Cooper appeared in good touch and raced onto 28 off just 18 deliveries until Tharusha Fernando ended his exciting cameo.
Mike Hunter and Khurram Hussain put on 56 together, giving the hosts a strong foundation to accelerate the scoring at 104-2. However, Fernando claimed his second wicket, with Hussain falling for a stylish 40.
Andrew Duffy then ended Hunter’s (33) stubborn resistance, which caused a dramatic collapse as the team lost seven wickets for just 12 runs, having previously been well set on 122-3.
Campbell Vadlja (10) was the only other batsman to reach double figures before being dismissed by Fernando (3-39), while Duffy (5-36) ripped through the rest of the batting line-up to restrict Barns to 134 all out from 36.2 overs.
In reply, both opening batsmen were removed early, with Joe Fretwell-Walsh making the first breakthrough before Cooper trapped Mark Walker lbw for 16.
Fernando and James Plant both made positive starts to halt the momentum, but three quick wickets handed Barns a new lease of life as Fretwell-Walsh (3-35) struck twice, including Fernando for 24, while Northwich skipper Plant (29) was mankaded by Phil Dodd.
Cooper (3-42) added two more victims to his tally to make it a nervy finish, but the away side managed to reach the target with three wickets to spare thanks to an unbeaten 29 from Gladwin Cherian.
However, the First XI were able to avenge the defeat quickly as they picked themselves up to produce a tremendous performance in the semi-final of the Cheshire Shield, successfully chasing down 240 to win.
Vadlja hit a magnificent 98, while Ben Hicks’ crucial half century guided the team to the required total, meaning Barns will appear in the final for the first time since claiming the silverware in 2006.