OVERSEAS star Hashir Dafedar scored his maiden Hale Barns hundred as the first XI posted a huge total against Congleton, but could only manage a winning draw to lose ground on the leading group of four clubs in Cheshire Cricket league Division One.

Ben Hicks chipped in with four wickets, but the visitors held on to deny Barns victory and dent their promotion hopes.

Openers Ben Staniforth and Joe Cooper got Hale off to a great start with the bat as they were unscathed on 61-0, but the momentum shifted dramatically when Sean Cardall claimed three victims to restrict the score to 69-4.

Dafedar looked comfortable at the crease and scored at a steady rate despite Cardall (4-64) making another breakthrough.

And while the young Indian accumulated runs with ease on his way to a half-century, John Copeland (2-26) got in on the act as the hosts slipped to 146-7.

However, captain Chris Dodson provided support to Dafedar as the pair boosted the run rate in the latter stages of the innings, adding 77 together until Dodson departed for a quickfire 36.

But Congleton were unable to remove Dafedar, who cruised to an excellent century, finishing unbeaten on 106 as Hale posted a daunting 244-8.

Barns carried the momentum into the second innings as Hicks and Sam Smith (1-46) sent three batsmen back to the pavilion early on.

Opening batsman Tom Blease remained and received help from Kevin Waterhouse, with the duo rebuilding the run chase admirably by playing with considerable attacking intent.

The tide turned again when Waterhouse was finally dismissed for 44 from 43 deliveries with the partnership approaching a century and Congleton’s slim chances of a successful chase appeared over when Blease fell for 80 with the score on 164-5, as Dafedar (2-26) added wickets to his earlier batting display.

And when Hicks (4-40) took two more dismissals, Barns were within touching distance of producing a result.

But Ben Heades held firm with a stubborn 27 not out as the away side completed the allotted overs 53 runs short, but with two wickets in hand to secure a draw.