CRICKET: Defence of Cup gathers semi-final momentum

DEFENDING champions Hucknall booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League Popkess Cup as they enjoyed a comfortable win — helped along the way with a few slices of luck — against Attenborough.

ATTENBOROUGH 151

HUCKNALL 97-2 (revised target)

The first thing to go in the locals’ favour was the fact the match should have been a home tie for Attenborough. But with their own ground out of action, the fixture was switched to the New Gatehouse ground.

Then, with storms predicted, Division A outfit Hucknall won a crucial toss and proceeded to bowl their Division B opponents out inside 41 overs.

When the rain arrived, Hucknall were faced with a reduced target of just 94 from 28 overs and they encountered little difficulty in achieving their aim with fully ten overs to spare.

They now face one more hurdle in order to earn the right to win back-to-back titles.

Earlier in the day, the locals were always in control and had Attenborough rocking on ten for three as man-of-the-match Tim Buckthorpe (two for three from nine overs) tore in and removed both openers during a spell that included six maidens.

Alan Moss (41, nine fours), dealing almost exclusively in boundaries, did his utmost to lead a recovery until seeing a stump sent wheeling away by Jake Wright (one for 47 in six overs).

The lower order all got going with Mark Bateman (21, four fours), Andrew Simkiss (22, five fours) and Arjun Singh (22, five fours) scoring well.

But Hucknall skipper Robin Maxwell (four for 31 from 8.4 overs) came back into the fray to close the deal and finished with four wickets.

The rain started to fall as the players departed for tea and quickly developed into a full-scale thunderstorm that caused two hours to be lost.

Thankfully the covers did their job and when play resumed, Hucknall set about their task with relish in the hands of openers Aaron Lee (38, eight fours) and Max Thompson (22, four fours), who put on 68 for the first wicket — only the second time this season Hucknall have enjoyed a half-century opening stand.

Chris Alcott (one for 19 from 3.1 overs) had Lee caught and then ran out Thompson.

But in stepped Maxwell to hit a six and two fours in a 14-ball 18 not out alongside Scott Harris (nine not out (two fours) to rubberstamp the victory.