It was a disappointing day at the office for Hale Barns Second XI on Saturday as they left Tattenhall CC empty-handed following a four-wicket defeat.
Sanjeev Bhatia kicked off his 2020 campaign with a well-made half century, but Barns failed to put enough runs on the board, with the hosts reaching the target with 3.2 overs to spare.
Batting first, the visitors remained unscathed after 10 overs, with Stew Reynolds’ attacking approach providing a solid foundation to build from. Despite the loss of Tom Entwistle (4), Reynolds and Bhatia maintained the steady progress until Reynolds was eventually bowled for 31, leaving Barns on 60-2 at the halfway stage.
Tattenhall’s Dan Moore bowled a very economical spell to put the pressure on the away side, registering figures of 2-15 off eight overs, while spinner Gary Forster (3-27) claimed a trio of victims, including Andrew Willis for 14, as HBCC stumbled in the latter stages of the innings.
Bhatia deservedly reached his milestone, but Barns were unable to increase the scoring rate and were left in an even more precarious position when Bhatia was brilliantly run out by Harvey Salt for 52. And the home team continued to restrict the batsmen, limiting the score to 138-8.
Jack Wylie (2-33) managed to provide a couple of early blows with the ball as he removed both openers inside the first 10 overs, including a well-executed slower ball to dismiss Tattenhall captain Jon Beddow (22).
Ross Dunleavy (2-17) followed this up with two strikes of his own – deserved reward for an impressive eight-over spell – to keep the game in the balance at 51-4.
Soon after, a sharp run out from Charlie Romer made Barns slight favourites, although Salt and Moore (11) showed some resolve to avoid a batting collapse. Ben Croucher (1-14) broke the deadlock in the 26th over with Tattenhall still needing 46 runs to win, setting up an exciting finish to the game.
That was the final breakthrough for the bowlers, however, as Mark Sandford (26 not out) confidently led the hosts to the required total, while Salt (36 not out) also held his nerve as Tattenhall coasted to victory with 20 deliveries left.