Hale Barns First XI moved up to fourth position in the Cheshire County Cricket League Division 2 as they continued their superb run of form with a comprehensive victory against Stockport CC.
Sam Smith did the most damage with the ball by taking four wickets, while stand-in captain Ben Staniforth led by example with his second successive half century to guide the team to a seven-wicket win.
The visitors chose to bat first and made a reasonable start after carefully negotiating the opening 10 overs, remaining unscathed and accumulating 28 runs.
However, young bowling duo Smith and Jake Romer soon put their stamp on proceedings as the former struck twice in an over, while Romer (2-18) then matched that tally – including the dismissal of Zafar Jatoi for 20 – to restrict the score to 29-4.
Cooper (3-11) soon claimed two more victims to take his season total to 56, meaning he enters the final week of the season as the division’s leading wicket taker.
Patrick Firth (22) offered valiant resistance, but his stay at the crease was finally halted by the return of Smith, who then quickly wrapped up the final wicket to finish with figures of 4-15 off 8.5 overs, with the away side bowled out in less than 31 overs for just 75.
Barns’ reply got off to a poor start when Smith (2) was sent back to the pavilion in the fourth over, but Staniforth immediately looked assured to ease any nerves.
From 45-1, HBCC did drop to 48-3 with the loss of Cooper (8) and Mike Hunter (2), but Staniforth was at his fluent best to almost single-handedly guide the team to the required target.
The skipper for the day cruised to his third half century of the campaign and completed the run chase unbeaten on 55 as Barns won inside 24 overs with seven wickets to spare.