Newly-promoted Hale Barns Second XI announced their return to the Cheshire County Cricket League in style with a hard-fought four-wicket victory at Alvanley CC.
After impressing with the bat and with the gloves behind the sticks, Hunter said: “It was very enjoyable. I thought we played very well as a unit. It’s a lovely place to play cricket at Alvanley and it was nice to make the most of it by spending time out in the middle and getting a few runs.
“I’ve not actually picked up a bat since September, so I felt lucky to edge a few through the slips early on and have the chance to get my eye in and from there I was just happy to get some runs to help the team to a victory.
“I’m pleased with my performance and it was good to get a couple of stumpings as well, but obviously there were a few others who made big contributions and I think Tom Saddington won the game for us at the end with some great hitting.”
Having been put into bat, the home team were immediately under pressure as Jake Romer (2-45) got into a good rhythm early on, removing both openers to restrict the score to 10-2.
At the other end, Dave Saddington (0-21) bowled with superb control but endured a luckless 11-over spell after Glenn Pickersgill and Charlie Fletcher rode their luck with some adventurous shot selections and a couple of tricky dropped catches.
Fletcher capitalised on his good fortune and raced to his half century having taken a liking to the short boundary, profiting from a combination of streaky and well-played fours and sixes.
Wylie replaced D Saddington in the attack and produced the breakthrough in his second over having tempted Pickersgill (31) into a loose drive which was excellently held onto at first slip by Tom Entwistle.
Davie Pearson joined Fletcher at the crease and the pair continued to take the aerial route with great success, shifting the total onto 150-3 in the 32nd over until Pearson fell for 31 having been caught and bowled by Wylie.
Barns were suddenly ripping through the middle order as Wylie doubled his tally with two dismissals in as many deliveries thanks to a tremendous catch from James Fullerton-Batten and a sharp stumping by Hunter.
And having survived countless close calls throughout his innings, Fletcher finally departed for 91, becoming Wylie’s (5-34) fifth victim and the second batter to be stumped by Hunter as the hosts slipped to 170-7 with 12 overs remaining.
Romer returned to the action to run out Finn McNamara (11) but Barns failed to make further inroads as Chris Fletcher added valuable runs in the latter stages, completing the innings unbeaten on 33 to guide Alvanley to a respectable 217-8 from their allotted overs.
In reply, the visitors remained unscathed for 11 overs until Clive Collins (12) was trapped lbw by Nigel Cox. Hunter and Entwistle played sensibly and took the score to three figures without much trouble, with Hunter passing fifty.
However, their impressive partnership of 90 came to an abrupt end when Hunter was caught for a composed 79, while Entwistle (26) followed shortly after to leave Barns still needing 88 runs from 17 overs.
Fullerton-Batten (29) and Peter Stubbs (20) appeared to be steering the away side to the required target when they put on 45 together, but Charlie Fletcher added a wicket to his earlier runs, while Cox returned to the attack to claimed his second dismissal.
A third Cox (3-48) victim quickly followed to set-up a nervy finale, but with Barns requiring 35 off the last 36 balls, T Saddington stepped up to the mark with a destructive cameo of 33 not out to lead HBCC to an impressive victory.