CRICKET: New Zealander Kitchen sinks Hucknall

TEXTBOOK BATTING -- by Richard Cross was not enough to save Hucknall from an opening-day defeat -- NHUD11-1595-3

TEXTBOOK BATTING -- by Richard Cross was not enough to save Hucknall from an opening-day defeat -- NHUD11-1595-3

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DISAPPOINTED Hucknall beat the weather but not Radcliffe-on-Trent in their opening match of the new Gunn And Moore South Notts League, Division A season.

The New Gatehouse Ground clash was the only top-flight fixture that got the go-ahead after persistent rain throughout the week. But by the end, Hucknall were wishing it hadn’t after a dreadful batting-collapse gifted the verdict to a Radcliffe side they finished above last term.

The day started so well because after being put in, the home side cruised to 101 for two by the 22nd over — thanks to fine batting by opener Richard Cross and skipper Robin Maxwell, plus 14 from Aaron Lee.

But it went wrong once star man Maxwell had been caught behind for 26 (five fours) by Radcliffe’s New Zealand professional Anaru Kitchen, thus breaking a partnership with Cross worth 64.

Cross went on to make an excellent 91 (eight fours), perishing only in the final over. But support at the other end was negligible as Hucknall lost seven wickets for only 39 runs before late resistance from Adam Scott (18).

As well as slow left-armer Kitchen (three for 28 in 11 overs), the bowler to cash in was Tom Crosse, who demolished Hucknall’s middle-order with figures of five for 32 from 12 overs.

Kitchen, who has six first-class hundreds to his name for Auckland, then showed what he could do with the bat, firing 66 (three sixes and seven fours) off 53 balls.

As Hucknall’s bowlers toiled with a wet ball, Kitchen shared a superb matchwinning third-wicket stand of 124 with visiting skipper Robert Sutton (86 not out, one six and nine fours), who helped Radcliffe recover from a couple of early scares and guided them home by the 41st over.