A teenage batsman rising rapidly through the ranks at Hucknall Cricket Club is following in a family tradition by starring at the crease.
Eighteen-year-old George Buckthorpe, who joined the club as an 11-year-old, is now a second XI regular and scored his first century just a few weeks ago.
He has also played in the Notts Premier League this season as part of the New Gatehouse ground side’s first venture in the county’s top cricket competition.
George, a former pupil at Ellis Guilford School and Sports College, Basford, is following in the footsteps of his father and two grandfathers, who have all played local cricket.
One of his grandfathers, Terry, represented Lincolnshire in minor counties cricket, while his father, Tim, is now captain of the second XI at Hucknall.
Tim, (50), an all-rounder who played for Long Eaton for more than 30 years before joining Hucknall six years ago, described his son as level-headed.
That was highlighted when George struck 12 fours and two sixes as he stroked his way to that maiden ton, an unbeaten 112 in the 76-run win over Gedling and Sherwood in Division D of the South Notts League.
With his side in trouble at 9-2, including the loss of Tim, George showed maturity beyond his years to lead the fightback.
The number three batsman guided Hucknall to 182 for five from their 40 overs, scoring more than half of his side’s runs and one of only two batsmen to make double figures. The teenager, a part-time wicketkeeper, also safely gathered a catch in Gedling’s reply to complete his fine day.
The Hucknall teenager, who also plays golf and football, said: “It was a relief to get to my century, but I was elated at the same time, especially as my dad was playing too and was able to see it.”
He said another highlight this season was his Notts Premier League debut in a seven-wicket win against Caythorpe.
George, who has just started work for his father’s plumbing and heating merchant company, Cooper and Berry Ltd, of Nottingham, praised the influence of his family’s cricketing roots on his fledgling career so far and also Hucknall’s overseas professional, Dale Campbell.
Campbell, now in his third season at the club, scored more than 1,000 runs last season to lead Hucknall to the South Notts Cricket League Division A title – their first Saturday triumph.
George said: “I am very proud to keep up the family tradition. Now I want to try to cement my place in the first team next season.”
The teenager, who first started playing cricket for Basford Mill, trains two to three times a week, loves watching England play cricket and T20 matches and cites England captain Alistair Cook as his hero for his ability to score runs all round the wicket.
George’s maturity at the crease has also won praise from one of his regular batting partners, second team opener Andy Carden, who shared a matchwinning 110-run stand with the teenager to guide them to a 37-run victory against Hickling in their Division D match in the South Notts League.
“George is a pleasure to bat with, he is fun and enjoys his game,” said Andy. “He looks technically pleasing and has a solid, repeatable set up that has been grooved over years of coaching and listening - and that is what he does, listen. It is a vital quality in any young aspiring sportsperson wishing to improve and go higher.
“When I bat with him I watch his head, eyes and feet. He is instinctively good off the back foot, a trait learned from his dad, Tim, who is also excellent off the back foot, punishing anything short with a fluid and well-timed pull shot.
“What George lacks in height he certainly more than makes up for in timing.”
Andy said he had been most impressed with George’s range of shots and patience at the crease this season.
“He batted for more than 15 overs to get in during one game. He was finding the fielders regularly with supremely-timed shots, but where others would have become frustrated, he did not.
“He kept smiling as he knew it would come and sure enough, while others would have eventually gone for the big shot to release the pressure and got out, the boundaries started to flow and he got a 50. It was really impressive and inspiring to see, even for me at my age.”
Hucknall is very much a family-orientated club. It runs four Saturday League teams, a Sunday team in the Mansfield and District Cricket League and youth cricket at Kwik, under-11, under-12, under-13 and under-15 levels.
It is always looking for people to join, whether to play or watch, and particularly welcomes interest from people interested in umpiring or scoring.
For more information about the club go to http://hucknall.play-cricket.com/contact_us