A nailbiting last day of the season is in prospect after gutted HUCKNALL threw away pole position in the dramatic soap-opera of a race for the Notts Premier League (NPL).
Hucknall went into the penultimate round of matches with a four-point lead at the top of Division A in the Gunn And Moore South Notts League. They knew that two more wins would guarantee them the title and promotion to the NPL for the first time in their history.
But calamity struck on the Coronation Street ground of bottom-of-the-table Balderton.
For Robin Maxwell’s troops could only collect a losing draw and eight points, allowing closest rivals Attenborough to return to top spot with a win at Long Eaton.
Now Attenborough enter their final match at home to struggling West Indian Cavaliers 2nd this Saturday with an advantage of eight points.
Hucknall, who entertain Long Eaton at the New Gatehouse Ground, must win and hope that the leaders slip up.
Like Cavaliers, Balderton are still fighting to avoid relegation. And the Newark outfit, put into bat by Maxwell, got off to a flier last Saturday in the hands of openers Ian Sellars and Tim Clipsham, who put on 41.
Clipsham clipped five fours in a rapid 25, while Sellars went on to make a circumspect 51 that included seven boundaries.
Not until the board read 101 did Sellars depart, trapped lbw by tidy spinner Adam Scott (two for 56 in 16 overs). But by then, another batsman, home captain Alan Jackson, was on his way to a big score.
Jackson’s unbeaten 75 (eight fours) guided his team to a final total of 217 for six from their alloted 50 overs -- despite the persistence of Maxwell, who took three for 41 in nine overs, and another useful spell of off-spin by Max Thompson (one dfor 35 in ten).
Hucknall’s reply got off to the worst possible start. South African run-machine Dale Campbell made his first duck of the season and with Maxwell dropping himself to number five, they plunged to 40 for four against some challenging bowling by new-ball duo, Chris Dobbie (four for 55 in 16 overs) and Luke Endley (two for 35 in 16).
The skipper came to the rescue with a knock of 65 (seven fours) in a stand of 126 with former captain, Scott Harris (62, eight fours), who scored a superb first half-century of the season
With ten overs left, only 58 were needed. But just when the pair looked set to pull off an against-the-odds win, Maxwell was brilliantly caught and bowled by Dobbie and, as so often happens, Harris went soon afterewards, bowled by Endley.
Two panicky run-outs then left Hucknall with too much to do and, despite 19 not out from Josh Buckley, they finished on 203 for eight..