Weather steals Hucknall Town’s thunder as ref calls a halt

YOU'RE NICK-ED! -- man-of-the-match midfielder Nick Morgan, who set up Town's goal for Courtney Bonnick
YOU'RE NICK-ED! -- man-of-the-match midfielder Nick Morgan, who set up Town's goal for Courtney Bonnick
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Thunderbolts, lightning strikes and lashing rain were the only winners in HUCKNALL TOWN’S latest match in the Central Midlands League, South Division.

Town got to half-time in their contest away to struggling Grantham outfit, Barrowby.

But then a ferocious storm hit the Lincolnshire club’s Lowfields ground, sending spectators scurrying for cover.

And because the ground does not have floodlights, the referee and his assistants felt that if they waited for the storm to pass, the match would end in farcical darkness.

Therefore, they took the decision to abandon proceedings, which means a new date will have to be set for the sides to start all over again.

The score was 1-1 at the time, so the abandonment denied Town the chance to build on their long-awaited victory against Calverton Miners Welfare the previous week.

They had hammered Barrowby 4-1 in the corresponding fixture at Watnall Road back in August when goals from Leon Aikman, Alex Arnold, Eugene Francis and John Whetton underlined their superiority.

And although the home team had improved in recent weeks -- to such an extent that they defeated title-chasing South Normanton Athletic 3-0 just before Christmas -- The Yellows were confident of completing a double.

Nigel Milne and Richard Payne’s Barrowby sit below them in the league table, while Town were enjoying a run of only one defeat in six matches.

Manager Andy Graves made two changes from the side that beat Calverton, as Whetton returned to the midfield, enabling Tom Crisp to drop back into the defence to cover for the absence of centre-half Arnold, and Adam Gilliott replaced the injured Francis up front.

Despite an awkward tight and compact, sloping pitch, they seemed to cope well in the opening half, especially as they also had to contend with kicking uphill into the teeth of a strong wind.

Town took the lead in the 21st minute with another goal from impressive new striker Courtney Bonnick. Midfielder Nick Morgan did the spadework, and Bonnick turned on the edge of the box to drive a shot into the bottom corner.

The Yellows broke through the Barrowby backline on several other occasions in the half -- most notably when Gilliott burst clear for a couple of one-on-ones. On the first occasion, the young frontman’s shot was blocked by home goalkeeper Ian Flavell. On the second occasion, Gilliott clipped the ball over Flavell, only for the wind to drift it away from goal.

Bizarrely, the wind also played a big factor in Barrowby’s freak equaliser. A first-time ball, knocked high into the Town box by midfielder Nick Hardy, swerved and deceived everyone before landing over stranded ‘keeper James Beddingham.

The intervention of the weather was frustrating because the match was only one of four in the division to start.

Of the others, Town’s derby rivals, LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE, celebrated a rare win, while South Normanton mauled rock-bottom Calverton 7-0 and Mickleover Royal British Legion triumphed 4-2 at Southwell City.

Seventh-placed Southwell are The Yellows’ next scheduled opponents, weather permitting, when they visit Watnall Road this Saturday.

They have won only one of their last six matches (against Calverton), and were routed 7-0 by Clifton All Whites two weeks ago.

When the two sides last met in the league, back in October, Town returned home with a creditable 1-1 draw. But a week later, Southwell knocked them out of the Notts FA Senior County Cup, winning 2-1.