A poor batting display proved the undoing for Hale Barns Second XI as they suffered a disappointing defeat to second-placed Lindow CC to severely dent their hopes of back-to-back promotions.
Having entered the game on a run of four consecutive victories, Barns were confident of leapfrogging their opponents, but despite an impressive performance in the field the team ended 62 runs adrift.
The hosts made an ideal start when Jack Wylie picked up opener Charlie Hodge for a duck with the fourth ball of the match, while he struck again to remove the dangerous Ian Park (11) to restrict Lindow to 19-2 from nine overs.
Matt Ramsden (17) and Robert Venables (18) fought hard to see off the early onslaught and managed to remain unscathed until the 20th over when Peter Stubbs got in on the act, dismissing both batsmen in quick succession to leave the score on 60-4 at drinks.
David Kendrick scored 14 before becoming Stubbs’ (3-27) third victim and Callum Schora (1-15) then made a breakthrough of his own, with Wylie (3-32) capping off an economical 15 overs with his third wicket.
Henry James (26) was caught behind off the bowling of Ben Motamed (1-30) to put HBCC firmly in the driving seat at 107-8 with nine overs remaining, although they let slip the ascendancy by allowing some late order runs.
Thomas Rae scored an important 18, but Jake Romer (1-31) produced a wicket and a run out to end the resistance as the visitors posted a sub-par target of 150 to win.
Fresh from an opening stand of 150 during a successful chase of over 200 at Cheadle Hulme the previous week, Barns suffered a complete contrast as they endured a disastrous start.
Mike Bufton dismissed Schora (1) in the second over and James Fullerton-Batten was run out for 5, while two stumpings in the 13th over off the bowling of Graham Clinton (2-11) – including Clive Collins for 13 – left the home side reeling on 26-4.
Chris Colley appeared to be in good touch as he swiftly moved on to 25, but he was sent back by Rae to dash any hopes of a Barns revival.
Rae (2-22) then broke through the defences of Motamed (9) to put Lindow on the brink of victory, although Wylie showed some steel to prolong proceedings.
But the rearguard effort was short-lived as Bufton (2-30) doubled his tally before wrapping things up with a run out to bowl out Barns for just 87, with Wylie remaining unbeaten on 11.