Hale Barns First XI continued their recent poor form with a third successive league defeat away to Alvanley CC as a result of yet another disappointing batting display.
Alex Ross was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets to restrict the hosts to just below 200 on a flat pitch, but just three batsmen reached double figures as Barns fell a distant 109 runs adrift.
It took HBCC nine overs to strike with the ball as Ross removed Michael Rowlands for 11 following an opening stand of 29, but that proved to be the only early breakthrough as Stephen Charles and Mark Szymura built a steady partnership.
Rick Watt’s arrival at the crease upped the tempo significantly, while Charles continued to accumulate after passing fifty, with the score quickly moving on to 175-3 with five overs remaining.
Ross (3-51) returned to the attack and claimed two key victims as Watt’s cameo eventually came to an end for 39 off 28 balls, while Charles fell for a more patient 74. There was also time for Jake Romer (1-37) and Joe Cooper (1-39) to take a wicket each to contain Alvanley to 197-8.
Confidence of producing a successful run chase was instantly dealt a blow when Matt Drury (2-14) sent back Cooper and Mike Hunter without scoring before S Smith also came and went for a duck thanks to Charles, who then removed Khurram Hussain (19) as the visitors collapsed to 19-4 from eight overs.
Charles soon broke through the resistance of Ben Staniforth (9), while spinner Toby Honeysett (1-25) also picked up a wicket to make things even worse for the away side at 37-6 after 20 overs.
Tommy Smith was able to occupy the crease by displaying terrific grit and determination, with T Saddington playing more fluently as he raced to a run-a-ball 24, although he was stumped off the bowling of Rowlands after a partnership of 40.
And things soon unravelled for Barns as Charles (5-17) took two quick wickets to earn his fifer, including T Smith for a courageous 21 off 52 deliveries, while Rowlands (2-12) finished off the match with Barns making just 88 from 32.4 overs.