HEROIC Hucknall are celebrating a weekend to remember after completing a double over local-derby rivals, Rolls-Royce Leisure, and tasting cup glory.
Hucknall followed up a 29-run success over Rolls in June with a nailbiting two-wicket win in the last over of the return fixture in the Gunn And Moore South Notts League, Division A last Saturday.
And 24 hours later, they inched past underdogs Hoveringham in an exciting Popkess Cup semi-final (SEE BELOW).
The triumphs took Hucknall’s debut season in the top flight into the realms of fantasy — particularly the taming of Rolls, which lifted them above their neighbours and into second place in the table with just two games to go. Plumtree have already been crowned champions.
The home side opted to bat first and soon raced to an impressive 98 for two from the first 22 overs — thanks to a half-century from opener Raheem Karim (57, ten fours) and 37 (five fours) from new face Mahboob Elani.
But Hucknall fought back well. Spinner Adam Scott bowled Raheem, who had plundered 147 in the first match between the two sides, and youngster William Spray had Mahboob caught in a beautiful spell.
When Scott struck again, Rolls were suddenly 117 for five, ending all hope of a huge total.
Waheed Khan (38, two fours and three sixes), Joel Wright (22 not out, two sixes) and Mansoor Khan (17, three fours) kept the board ticking over.
But the return of pace bowler Josh Buckley kept Hucknall’s noses in front. He bagged three wickets and finished with four for 61 from 15 overs.
Hucknall’s reply eased to 45 without loss before Rolls thought they had seized the initiative when new-ball bowler and stand-in captain Jason Gorman not only broke the stand but also claimed the prized scalp of the prolific visiting skipper Robin Maxwell for a second-ball duck.
They were made to think again by Hucknall’s ‘King Richards’, namely Cross and Greatorex, who laid the foundations for victory with half-centuries.
Opener Cross (58, nine fours) followed up his unbeaten ton in the previous game, while Greatorex stroked a decisive 71 (one six and eight fours) off 96 balls.
Rolls continued to fight and after Greatorex was fifth man out on 167, two more wickets left the visitors wobbling on 179 for seven, still requiring 33. But in a thrilling finale, Hucknall kept edging closer until 15 were needed from the final three overs.
The pressure began to tell as Rolls changed their wicketkeeper after Mansoor Khan had conceded four byes — and it all came down to Hucknall wanting three to win from the final over.
The nerves were shredded further when Tom Walters was caught off the first ball. But club professional Buckley calmly hit the next ball for four and Hucknall were home.
ROLLS’S only consolation came with the news that they have won a reprieve — and a place in the semi-finals — of the Popkess Cup.
They were beaten by Hyson Green Carrington Caribs in the quarter-finals earlier this month. But the league ordered the tie to be replayed and now Caribs have conceded the match, giving Rolls a bye to the semis where they will meet champions Plumtree. Victory would mean yet another tasty derby against Hucknall in the final.