HALE Barns first XI played out a third successive draw after competing in a high-scoring encounter with Christleton that saw a combined total of 470 runs scored.

Sam Smith and Ben Staniforth hit half-centuries as the visitors fell 51 runs short of Christleton’s mammoth target of 261 to win, but kept five wickets intact to secure a losing draw and extend their unbeaten league run to six games.

The home side made a formidable start to proceedings as they raced on to 84-0, with Mubashir Hassan playing a particularly ferocious innings alongside opening partner Josh Morgan Jones.

Having toiled in the early stages, Barns finally earned a breakthrough when Joe Cooper (2-60) trapped Jones lbw for 31, while Hassan’s exciting stint at the crease was brought to an end by Staniforth on 58 off 55 balls.

Christleton were then pegged back to 109-3 after Staniforth (2-48) produced a terrific delivery to claim a second victim as his ripping off-spinner deceived Atif Bajwa (14) who watched the ball crash into his off stump.

The hosts continued to score at a rapid rate, with Tom Wells striking 25 during a short cameo, although wickets for Tom Saddington (1-29) and Sam Smith (1-36) gave the away team a couple more moments of joy.

Mike Jones (54) reached his half-century before departing to Jake Romer (1-46), while Dan Hamp’s 34 not out from 26 deliveries ensured Christleton carried the momentum right through to the conclusion of the 50 overs, finishing with an enormous score of 260-7.

Despite the early loss of Cooper for nine, Barns made a positive response thanks to Smith and Staniforth.

Not content to simply block out for a draw, the young duo showed plenty of attacking intent, with an array of well-timed strokes from Smith taking him to his maiden first XI 50.

However, his stylish knock eventually came to an end for 63 before a third dismissal followed shortly after to reduce Barns to 118-3.

They quickly settled themselves, though, with Staniforth and Sujoy Jaiswal forming a solid partnership.

The pair added 67 together until Staniforth was removed for an excellent 65, while Jaiswal’s fluent display was cut short on 30 by Adam Bayley (2-41) with just a handful of overs remaining.

And Christian Dodson (17no) finished the match on a high with three boundaries to secure a final batting point as Barns completed their allotted overs on a respectable 210-5.

Elsewhere, in a rain-reduced fixture, the seconds got back to winning ways after a terrific bowling performance set-up a nervy five-wicket victory over Ashton-on-Mersey.

Jack Wylie (5-12) claimed five dismissals from his opening 25 deliveries to restrict the visitors to 6-5, while a run-out left them reeling on 8-6.

Dave Saddington (3-19) got in on the act with three victims, but an unbroken final-wicket stand of 34 between Charlie Sands (38no) and Jordi Matthews (1no) spared some of the embarrassment.

Chasing 66 to win from 30 overs, Barns collapsed to 28-5 following some impressive bowling from Henry Blease (3-27) and Harry Vogt (2-13), but Tom Entwistle (12no) and Peter Stubbs (27no) saved the day to steer them to the required total with 3.4 overs to spare.