Disappointment as Hucknall let points slip away at home against Wollaton

Hucknall were disappointingly beaten by 20 runs at home to Wollaton, though did pick up two of the eight Nottinghamshire Premier League points on offer last Saturday.
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Chasing Wollaton's 257-9, Hucknall were all out for 237 with 11 balls to go.

“The two points were only a consolation - nothing more,” said captain Sam Johnson.

“We were hampered by unavailability. But I don't want to make excuses as we had the game in the palm of our hands a couple of times and didn't get the job done. So that's on us unfortunately.

Harry Finch bowls for Hucknall against Wollaton.Harry Finch bowls for Hucknall against Wollaton.
Harry Finch bowls for Hucknall against Wollaton.

“Even when we didn't take any early wickets I thought we did pretty well. At no point did I think they were taking the game away from us.

“Then wickets fell in clusters, which was really good. But once we had them five or six down there was a rain delay of about 25 minutes. If I am being honest, after the rain I thought we were really poor with the ball which was disappointing.

“At 150-7 you'd hope we'd be able to bowl them out for under 200, but we are playing on the best wicket in the league and it does show at times.

“I bet the stats for runs made by batters below No.7 are pretty high compared to other grounds.”

Hucknall made a bad start to their reply losing two wickets without scoring and Johnson said: “It is never nice walking in at 0-2. I can't fault the openers. One of them got a really good ball and the other got a poor decision. Neither of them did a lot wrong.

“It was a tough start but after that I thought we batted really well for a period and myself and Mathew Roberts put on 90. Then we lost wickets in clusters – 4-30 – so you go from 90-2 to 120-6.

“Amir and George put on 100 and gave us a chance we didn't have. When they were out in close succession to each other it was a step too far really after that.”

Wollaton won the toss and made a solid start with openers Hassan Azad and Nicky Kirkwood both hitting 49 in an opening stand of 107.

A few wickets were taken cheaply until Tariq Stanikzai (55 not out) and Sam Humphries (51) combined for 101 for the eighth wicket.

George Blatherwick claimed 5-31 in his 10 overs.

In reply, Hucknall made a poor start with two players out for a duck without a run on the board.

Sam Johnson (52) and Mathew Roberts (33) steadied the ship with 90 for the third wicket and Ameer Kotze (45) and Blatherwick (44) made big contributions.

But the last three wickets tumbled for 14 runs as Hucknall fell short, Simon Walton (3-50) and Zain Latif (3-32) doing most of the damage.

On Blatherwick's five wicket haul, Johnson added: “He was fantastic.

“He is a really good cricketer and this year his game has gone from strength to strength and he has become a really good all-rounder. He is now getting the results he deserves.

“He is now fourth or fifth in the Premier League wicket taking column – and that's bowling spin on a good wicket – that is testament to how well he's done.”

On Saturday Hucknall are away at Radcliffe-on-Trent, who are currently ninth, 10 points and three places adrift of Hucknall and Johnson said: “It is a tricky game.

“They are not doing as well as I thought they would this year as they are a good side full of good players. It is a mystery to me how they're not quite performing as well as they can do.

“You know what they say about wounded animals and they are smarting after a loss I didn't expect against Attenborough.

“We have to be wary of a wounded animal. But equally they have to be aware of us as we are also wounded and ready to bite back.”