Freeman and Carden book top-of-table spot for unbeaten Hucknall 2nd

CARDEN PARTY -- a half-century by opening bat Andy Carden helped Hucknall 2nd to the top of the table after victory over Ellerslie 2nd.
CARDEN PARTY -- a half-century by opening bat Andy Carden helped Hucknall 2nd to the top of the table after victory over Ellerslie 2nd.

Happy Hucknall 2nd soared to the top of the table after stretching their unbeaten record this season to eight matches at home to Ellerslie 2nd.

With both Antony Freeman and Andy Carden firing half-centuries, Hucknall beat fellow high-fliers Ellerslie by three wickets for their sixth success of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League, Division D campaign.

It was a slow-burner of a match, with the visitors posting a total of 188-5 from their allotted 45 overs after being put into bat. But it produced an exciting finish as Hucknall reached their target with eight balls to spare.

The visitors started cautiously with only 12 runs from their first ten overs. But once the first wicket had fallen on 31, they hit the rocks and plunged to 37-4 against spinners Paul Harley and Jack Pates. Harley took 3-30 from 12 overs, while Pates marked his first appearance of the season for the 2nds, with 1-16 from seven overs.

Ellerslie recovered well in the hands of middle-order duo Muhammad Raza, who struck an unbeaten 62 that contained three sixes and four fours, and Vivek Parekh, who cracked a breezy 61 not out from only 26 balls, inclucing one six and seven fours.

Raza put on 55 for the fifth wicket with Ryan Duggan (24) before sharing a thrilling unbroken partnership of 96 with Parekh. A total of 100 runs came from the final ten overs, with George Judd (ten overs for 61 runs) and Graeme Wright, whose four overs cost 47, bearing the brunt.

Ellerslie maintained their momentum straight after tea wehen Dan Cawley (3-27 in ten overs) had form man Shaun Caudwell caught at cover, first ball. George Buckthorpe and Pates soon followed, and at 44-3, Hucknall had work to do.

However they rallied to the challenge as Freeman (54, five fours) and Carden (52, seven fours) put on 66 for the fourth wicket. The latter’s half-century was his fourth of the season and after he had gone, Freeman pressed the accelerator in a stand of 56 with James Guthrie (33, three fours).

Ellerslie fought back again with three wickets for no runs. But with 21 wanted from the last three overs, ultra-experienced duo Tim Buckthorpe and Graeme Wright powered them home.