Hucknall sound out a warning with fine win over likely title-chasers Kimberley Institute

Hucknall sounded a warning to the rest of the Nottinghamshire Premier League when they beat likely title challengers Kimberley Institute by eight runs in an opening day thriller on Saturday.

Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 5:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 5:29 pm

Captain Sam Johnson said Hucknall have an improved squad this summer and now need to prove this win was no flash in the pan.

“If Carlsberg did opening days I think is the line! It was brilliant,” he smiled.

“I always try to look objectively at our performance afterwards and the most satisfying thing for me was that we were excellent. To a man we did really well.

Ben Martindale adds to his total for Hucknall in Saturday's win over Kimberley Institute.

“Now, fortunately and unfortunately, for us we have to back that result up, provide some consistency and show we're not just a flash in the pan and can bat, bowl and field that well again. Standards have now been set.”

On the improved squad, Johnson said: “We have added three lads since last summer and managed to retain our existing players.

“The three newcomers make us better in all aspects and we now have a deeper first team squad.

“Squads are what bring success in amateur sport, not teams.

“All it takes is a wedding, a holiday or an illness. Now I am in a position where I have a handful of players who are all Premier League standard who might now be missing out on any one week.

“That's really good for us as it adds competition for places that maybe hasn't always been there in the past.

“Having a much deeper, stronger squad is good for me as a captain though a nightmare as well as it will add selection dilemmas to my plate.”

Hucknall put an imposing 265-7 on the board after wining the toss.

Ben Martindale and Hassan Chaudry led the way with 62 apiece, Sam Johnson added 44 and Mathew Roberts 33. James Hudson claimed figures of 4-45.

In reply Kimberley fell just short as they were bowled out for 256 with three balls to spare.

The tight finish was down to Dom Wheatley, who came in at six and blasted 10 fours and three sixes in an innings that looked like being enough to take his side to victory.

However, others fell around him for single figures, two of them run out, and Wheatley was just short of earning the win when he was bowled by Connor Ramm with three balls left and on 89 to ensure Hucknall emerged victorious by a narrow margin.

Newcomer Patrick Delahunty scored 43 and Martin Weightman 39.

There were two wickets apiece for Wassem Fazal and Ramm.

“I thought we bowled really well and got in a position where we were favourites, having really taken the initiative,” said Johnson.

“Then all of a sudden that initiative was wrestled away by Dom Wheatley, who batted exceptionally well and gave them a chance, almost single-handedly getting them to within single figures.

“But we stuck to our plans and I thought we were worthy winners in the end.”

On Saturday Hucknall are at home again, this time to Radcliffe, who won their opener against NPL new boys Gedling & Sherwood at the weekend, and Johnson said: “It will be another really tough tough and a really good yardstick of where we are at.”