IT proved to be a difficult afternoon for Barnards Green Firsts as they came up well short in their run chase at league leaders Harborne in their Birmingham and District League Premier Division Two encounter, losing by 97 runs.

Harborne’s captain Tom Arnold won the toss and chose to bat on a lovely sunny day in Harborne.

Swapnil Gugale opened the batting with Arnold but the latter was soon heading back to the pavilion when Jack Mackintosh had him caught by Jon Dovey without scoring.

Karan Bharaj came to the crease and found Mackintosh difficult to deal with in perhaps his best spell of bowling in the 1st XI.

Dovey briefly replaced Phil Harris before the Green turned to spin with Josh Dickenson and George Rhodes.

Both bowlers made it difficult for the batters but it was Rhodes who took the wickets.

Bharaj was caught by Josh Blunt for 16, then James Hunt (0) was run out by some smart fielding from Ollie Halion and a dive from keeper Ash Brewer.

Jasper Davidson was caught by Ryan Tongue first ball and Harborne were wobbling a little on 75-4.

Tejas Wagle joined Gugale who brought up his half century soon after.

This pair took the score to 117 before Wagle (19) was caught behind by Brewer to give Rhodes his third wicket (3-26).

Tom Payne came in at 7 and initially played the supporting role.

Gugale reached 96 when Ryan Tongue trapped him lbw (his innings came off 118 balls included 12 fours and unusually no sixes).

Matthew James hit a couple of lusty blows before being caught by Halion off Josh Blunt for 12, it was then that Payne let loose hitting some magnificent sixes.

His new partner Daniel Wright played his part but it was Payne doing the damage.

Wright fell next for 21 – caught by Rhodes off a returning Harris and George Land (0) fell first ball caught by Ollie Rogoff also off Harris.

Payne was last out for 65 - caught by Zain Ul-Hassan off Tongue, his fine innings came off 58 balls and included 1 four and 7 sixes.

The Green reply started badly when Ollie Halion slashed at one off Hunt and was caught by an amazing one handed catch by Payne for a second ball duck.

Ryan Tongue fell next when one from Mike Bevan lifted on him and he edged it to James for 4.

23-2 became 35-4 as first George Rhodes (19) was caught by Payne off Bevan and then Zain Ul-Hassan was caught and bowled by Bevan for 3.

Ollie Rogoff and Josh Dickenson tried to rebuild the innings but Dickenson fell next caught by Gugale off Davidson for 15.

In a disastrous few overs the victory slipped away. Firstly Phil Harris was run out for 25 by a direct hit from Arnold then a mix-up led to a second run out for Blunt to be dismissed for 7.

Ash Brewer (1) and Jon Dovey (1) came and went and The Green limped to 151 all out when Rogoff was caught for 57.