King double sees Hucknall home in thriller against Wollaton
Hucknall kept themselves clear of the Nottinghamshire Premier League drop zone with a six wicket victory in an absolute thriller of a home clash with Wollaton.
Having set 271-4 in their 50 overs, Hucknall seemed on course when Wollaton were 23-2.
But an astonishing innings of 114 off 78 balls by Nicky Kirkwood, including five fours and seven sixes, took it to the wire before Hucknall youngster Sam King grabbed the last two wickets in successive balls with the visitors stuck on 267, four runs short with seven balls left.
“It was a really good game to be fair – I am still recovering,” smiled Hucknall captain Sam Johnson
“I thought we did really well to set the total we did. Then we took key wickets at good times and kept them at bay for large periods.
“But then their captain played one of the best innings I have ever seen in my years playing Premier League cricket.
“We then needed a bit of luck and a bit of magic at the end to get over the line.
“That came from Sam King. He came to me and said we really a wicket so I am going at the stumps and bowl yorkers.
“And he executed it perfectly twice in a row in successive balls to grab the occasion.
“It's his first full year in the Premier League and he's only an 18-year-old lad. It was just magic.”
Johnson added: “In any normal season you'd hope 271 would have been enough.
“But in so many of the home games we've had the opposition have scored 300 and we've scored 270-280.
“There have been some really high scoring games and we were under no illusions. It's a good outfield and I think teams are playing more attacking cricket this year.
“If people bat well then 270 is about par on our wicket now.”
The win keeps Hucknall out of the bottom two and Johnson admitted: “We had to be cautious. I don't think we were over-confident at any point as we knew the importance of the fixture.
“At the start of the season none of us wanted to be near those relegation places. So as long as we can now stay away from them for the rest of the season I will be delighted.”
They now face two difficult games this weekend.
“It's a tough weekend coming up – Plumtree and Caythorpe away are two tough games,” said Johnson.
“Plumtree beat us earlier in the year and are a dangerous side at home.
“Sunday is then a very important one against a team in and around us. We beat Wollaton who are in and around us last week and we have to look to be beating Caythorpe, but they are a good side with good players who have just come off the back of a win over Attenborough.
“On the wickets we are going to play on it's going to be a tough weekend of Premier League cricket and I am not sure there's going to be 250-300s.
“I think it will be a real dig-in weekend and the team that battles best will win the games.”