HALE Barns first XI’s batting troubles continued as they suffered a 37-run defeat at Stockport, meaning they are still without a league win in June.

Joe Cooper and Ben Hicks took three wickets each as the visitors were set 174 to win, but an early batting collapse left the lower order with too much to do in a bid to salvage the result in the Cheshire County Cricket League Division Two clash.

Stockport took the ascendancy from the off as Zafar Jatoi and Noman Ghous built a solid partnership, seeing off opening bowlers Hicks and Dave Saddington.

It took the introduction of Cooper to break the pairing, with the spinner removing Jatoi for 39.

That breakthrough led to a flurry of wickets, with Alex Ross (1-33) taking one and Cooper (3-33) adding two more to his tally, while Hicks pulled off a run-out to send back top scorer Noman Ghous for 61.

Tom Saddington (1-19) was rewarded for a tidy spell with the dismissal of Mark Green (12) as Barns continued their resurgence.

And despite contributions from Danny Barber (13) and Adam Porter (17), Hicks (3-46) struck three times in the latter stages to restrict Stockport to 173-9 from their allotted overs.

Barns' reply got off to a disastrous start as four of the top five batters failed to reach double figures.

Ghous (1-23) took an early dismissal, while it was Mike Eley who did most of the damage by claiming four victims, including opener Khurram Hussain for 15.

Hicks and Cooper led the Barns recovery and built a solid partnership until the former was bowled by Green having added 24.

Christian Dodson joined Cooper at the crease and looked assured as Barns threatened to pull themselves back in contention, but Green claimed a second scalp as Cooper departed on 28.

Dodson’s impressive knock was eventually halted by Green (26) and any remaining hopes of an unlikely turnaround were doused when Eley returned to finish off the innings in the 35th over, taking the final two wickets to end with terrific figures of 6-42.

Elsewhere, the second XI fared much better in the reverse fixture as they demolished Stockport by nine wickets, wrapping things up in little over three hours.

Jack Wylie claimed his second five-wicket haul of the season, taking 5-24 from an opening 15-over spell, while Charlie Romer (2-0) used just three deliveries to remove the last two batsmen as Barns bowled out the 10-man visitors for 54.

Tom Entwistle’s dismissal for 11 proved to be the only blemish in the run chase, with Clive Collins registering an accomplished 27 not out and Andrew Willis ably supporting with an unbeaten 17 to lift Barns into fifth position in the table.