Double Bank Holiday blow for Hucknall
Two home defeats over Bank Holiday weekend against big guns Kimberley and local rivals Papplewick & Linby left Hucknall second bottom of the Nottinghamshire Premier League.
But captain Sam Johnson was encouraged by parts of both games and has no worries they will climb the table, starting at Caythorpe on Saturday.
“It wasn't exactly what we were hoping for going into the weekend but I am not concerned,” he said.
“We have played arguably the three best sides in the last three weeks and come up short - which is expected with the strength of the opposition.
“We were also unfortunate when we had a couple of games rained off from which we'd liked to think, arguably, we'd have got some points.
“I am keen not to let our heads drop as we have three games in a row now when we should be aiming to be on the right side on at least two of them and really start our season off.
“We are a young side so there will be some teething issues. But I have no concerns as such at this stage. I will back our lads as I think we've got real talent.
“All we need to do is mould it into one really strong performance rather than it being patchy over different games.”
He added: “It was disappointing to come on the wrong side of two results. But there were in different stages of both days some positives to take away from the weekend.
“With win/lose cricket there will be a lot of shock results to come and the league table is tighter when you are not playing for as many points. I imagine it will fluctuate quite a bit during the season.
“We want to get back to winning ways with a positive performance on Saturday.
“I am not naïve enough to read too much into the table at this stage of the season as it's a long old season and many peaks and troughs to come.”
Monday's big home derby ended in a 44 run defeat by Papplewick.
Put into bat, Aussie opener Brent Williams smashed 202 not out in 151 balls with 24 fours and six sixes. Backed by Tom Bowers with 31, they made a huge 314-6.
Landa and Sam Johnson scored 62 each, Hassan Chaudry 36 and Waseem Fazal 31 in a brave chase. But they fell short at 270-8 with Ben Bhabra taking 4-55.
“With one of our pros and another of our stronger players missing, it was always going to be tough. And when someone bats as well as Williams did for Papplewick it makes it really difficult.
“Any time someone scores 200 you should be winning that game. So were were up against it.
“But I was delighted with the way we showed some real fight and character to get two points from a situation in years gone by when we could have potentially rolled over and died.
“Instead we showed the sort of grit and determination that we need to show whether bat first or second.”
After opener Ninay Landa was out for a duck against Kimberley on Saturday, Hucknall were all out for 94 in 33.1 overs, only three batsmen making double figures and Nolan Benson top scorer with 19. Dominic Wheatley took 4-30 and George Bacon 3-14.
Kimberley had a wobble in reply, losing three wickets with 17 on the board, but recovered to 96-5 thanks to Matt Taylor's 29 and George Bacon's 23 not out to win by five wickets in 20.4 overs.
“Saturday was really disappointing,” said Johnson.
“We had a game plan, but lost a couple of wickets early due to a bit of misfortune and then I had to retire hurt. We kind of never recovered from that and just lost soft wickets at different stages of the innings.
“But I thought the way we fought back when we were bowling at Kimberley was really good and definitely a positive to take from the game.”