AFTER a stop/start, win/lose opening to the new Gunn And Moore South Notts League, Division A season, Hucknall surprised all by posting a rare draw in their latest match.
Hucknall bounced back from the previous week’s horror show to dominate a winning draw against high-riding title-chasers Radcliffe-on-Trent.
And remarkably, it was not only the side’s first draw for 23 matches but also the first under captain Robin Maxwell. Indeed it was only the second in their last 36 league fixtures.
Mind you, it was a draw in name only. Because this felt every inch a win after a tremendous performance that cut second-placed Radcliffe down to size and made a nonsense of Hucknall’s indifferent start to the campaign.
Batting, bowling and fielding as a unit, Maxwell’s troops outplayed the home side from the moment they were put in.
Opening bats Andy Carden (40, seven fours) and Richard Cross (30, five fours) set the tone with a first-wicket stand of 71.
And after a mini-slide to 79 for three, with Scott Harris bagging his second successive golden duck, the good work was maintained by Maxwell himself, who made 65 (one six and seven fours).
Maxwell was ably assisted by Richard Greatorex (38) in a responsible fourth-wicket partnership worth 86. And then Tim Buckthorpe (40 not out, four fours) kept his captain company in another vital stand of 35.
Josh Buckley added 12 not out in a further partnership of 34 at the death to leave Radcliffe chasing a total approaching five an over — despite fine bowling by Chris Holden (two for 24 from 11 overs).
It was a chase that never really got off the ground as Buckley (one for 47 in 15 overs) and Buckthorpe (one for 43 in 12) made good use of the new ball to restrict the home team to 19 for two from the first 11 overs.
Radcliffe still had a chance while dangermen Anaru Kitchen (35) and Rob Sutton (28) were around.
But Sutton was bowled by Max Thompson (two for 34 in eight overs) in his first over before Kitchen was caught in the deep by Greatorex off Adam Scott.
Spinner Scott went on to take three for 38 from ten polished overs and as the hosts collapsed to 120 for seven, with 13 overs remaining, an outright victory looked on the cards for Hucknall.
Stubborn resistance by Holden (33 not out, one six and four fours) and Eddie Torr (19) made sure they just failed. But the locals still picked up a healthy return of 18 points.