Mike Hunter hit a spectacular unbeaten century to lead Hale Barns Second XI to an emphatic victory over Upton CC at Brooks Drive.
Barns sent out a fourth new opening pairing in successive matches, with Stew Reynolds and Bhatia facing up to the new ball with great success, rotating the strike particularly well early on.
A half century stand came in the 17th over and both appeared to be settling in for the day, but a stroke of luck for Upton saw the partnership broken on 62 when a mix up running between the wickets led to Reynolds being caught short of his ground for 38.
His departure only brought more torment for the visitors, however, as Hunter strode to the crease in confident mood and quickly found his scoring touch. A flurry of boundaries saw Bhatia reach his half century first, although Hunter was not far behind as Barns threatened to amass a huge total, moving on to 125-1 after 30 overs.
Bhatia significantly increased his scoring rate after reaching his milestone, striking six fours in the space of 10 deliveries to charge on to 84, although a momentary lapse in concentration proved to be his downfall as he was bowled 16 runs short of three figures, bringing a magnificent partnership of 129 to an end.
At 206-3 with 10 overs remaining, Barns were eyeing a declaration, while Hunter’s chances of becoming the first Second XI centurion since August 2019 were looking increasingly likely.
Captain Tom Entwistle chipped in with a handy 25 not out, but he was overshadowed by the brilliance of Hunter, who was able to celebrate an exceptional hundred off just 76 balls.
After HBCC declared on 262-3 with four overs to spare, Hunter left the field unbeaten on 101, which included 15 fours and a six.
In reply, Kevin Jackson showed some early intent with two boundaries and a maximum, but things quickly started to unravel when Wylie claimed two victims before Charles Mills (1-20) removed Jackson (16) to leave Upton struggling on 24-3.
Gavin Byrom offered some respite by adding 18 until succumbing to Saddington, while Adam Carney also provided reasonable resistance. However, another good spell for Barns’ bowlers saw Upton fall from 74-4 to 94-7, with Saddington gaining two more dismissals and Jake Romer (1-26) getting in on the act.
Visiting skipper Ian Sharrock was the pick of the Upton bowlers, and he dragged his side towards a respectable score with an array of excellent shots, finding the boundary on 13 occasions.
But shortly after celebrating a half century, his aggression finally proved costly as Callum Schora held on to a smart catch on the boundary off the bowling of Wylie, concluding his exciting innings on 56.
Saddington (4-26) put Barns on the brink of victory with a fourth wicket before Wylie (4-41) matched his tally to finish the job and cap off a clinical all-round display, leaving the away side all out for 159.