Second XI Get Back On Track With Win At Neston - Hale Barns Cricket Club

Second XI Get Back On Track With Win At Neston - Hale Barns Cricket Club

12 Aug 2020

Sanjeev Bhatia and Charles Mills were the star performers as Hale Barns Second XI got back to winning ways by beating Neston CC by 14 runs.

Barns were able to post a respectable 184-9 thanks to an excellent 48 from Bhatia, who has started the shortened season in fine form, while youngster Mills took three wickets and produced a direct hit run out to end Neston’s unbeaten run.

Wayward bowling early on made it difficult for HBCC’s opening batsmen to get into a rhythm, with extras being the main source of runs before Stew Reynolds was undone by a rare straight delivery for 10.

Mike Hunter (23) looked in good touch in his first appearance of 2020, while Clive Collins (13) continued to battle at the other end as the pair guided Barns to a strong position on 62-1 after 15 overs.

However, two wickets in the space of seven balls sent both back to the pavilion, leaving Andrew Willis and Bhatia with the task of repairing the innings. The former was able to play in his typically fluent manner, capitalising on more loose bowling to get him going, but his cameo only lasted 16 deliveries before departing for 21.

A couple more dismissals reduced the visitors to 117-6, although Bhatia repeated his anchoring role from the previous week at Tattenhall, consistently rotating the strike and putting on 33 for the seventh-wicket pairing with Callum Schora (10).

Neston continued to plug away and managed to claim three more scalps late on, including key man Bhatia (48) who fell two runs short of a second consecutive half century. However, Jack Wylie scored a handy unbeaten 13 to ensure the visitors entered the halfway stage of the match with some positive momentum.

Barns then made an impressive start with the ball as Wylie and Mills removed both openers inside the first six overs and restricted the scoring rate to just 2.5 runs an over during the powerplay phase.

A second strike for Wylie (2-18) put Barns firmly on top, with the hosts languishing on 39-3 at the end of his eight-over spell, while Mills made further inroads in the field shortly after when his pinpoint throw from mid-off saw them drop to four-down.

Phil Dodd also got in on the act, but the home side were given a lifeline by number three batter Jerry Hopkins (50) who became more comfortable at the crease having been fortunate to survive early on, and eventually struck five fours and a six on his way to a half century.

His resistance immediately came to an end after reaching his landmark, however, as Bhatia held on to a good catch in the deep off the bowling of Dodd (2-28) to put Barns on the brink of victory at 88-6.

Neston refused to go down with a whimper, though, with skipper Dan Wakefield and teenager Aditya Srivastava showing plenty of grit and determination to gradually steer the team towards the required target.

With five overs remaining, the pair had added 50 runs together to give themselves an outside chance of a brilliant win, needing 47 off 30 balls. It took the reintroduction of Mills to the bowling attack to finally break the partnership, dismissing Wakefield for 37.

That signalled the end of Neston’s hopes for a dramatic comeback, with Srivastava (32) falling next ball to Schora (1-50) which brought to a close an exceptional knock from the 13-year-old.

There was still time for a couple of cleanly-struck boundaries from Will Taylor (16) but Mills (3-30) added a third victim to his tally before James Guest (1-28) finished things off with the penultimate delivery of the game to seal the Barns victory.