THE longest-serving cricket club in the Dispatch district aim to cap a remarkable renaissance this weekend with victory in a prestigious cup final.
Hucknall have created a major impact in their debut season in Division A of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League.
They have finished as high as third in the table. They have enjoyed two morale-boosting wins over local-derby rivals, Rolls-Royce Leisure. And now they stand on the threshold of glory in the Popkess Cup.
All this from a team who only gained promotion last season by the back door. They finished fourth in Division B but went up because two of the sides above them were second-elevens, who aren’t allowed in the top flight.
The Popkess final pits them against Plumtree, who have been crowned the league champions. But Hucknall are happy to pinch themselves at being in the final at all after a fall from grace that blighted their traditional reputation as one of the leading clubs in the county, formed as long ago as 1890.
The decline appeared to begin in the late 1980s when, after a long saga, the club were forced off the old Gatehouse Ground on the Hucknall/Linby border to make way for a housing development. The ground had been their home for 100 years.
Although they opened a new base off Hayden Lane in Hucknall in 1993, success dried up and they were relegated from Division B of the South Notts League in 2004 and endured one of their worst seasons when only just avoiding relegation from Division C two years later.
But their revival began with the C title in 2008 and now the club sit on the crest of a wave. Promotion to the elite Notts Premier League is even a distinct possibility in the near future.
The success has coincided with the arrival at the club from Kimberley of all-rounder Robin Maxwell, who has been an inspirational skipper this season. In all games (34 in total), he has scored 1,463 runs, including three centuries, at an average of 50.45, and has also taken 80 wickets at an average of 13.04.
Fellow batsman Scott Harris has also passed the 1,000-run milestone at an average of more than 50, while the club’s first professional, bowler Josh Buckley, has bagged 66 wickets at an average of 18.23.
Plumtree are favourites for Sunday’s final, which is at the neutral ground of Attenborough. But in high-scoring league encounters between the two sides this summer, Hucknall have not been disgraced, going down by four wickets and three wickets.