Hucknall are finally safe at last

Sam Johnson - 76 for Hucknall at Clifton Village.Sam Johnson - 76 for Hucknall at Clifton Village.
Sam Johnson - 76 for Hucknall at Clifton Village.
Hucknall will definitely compete in next season's Nottinghamshire Premier League.

Despite a narrow 17-run defeat at Clifton Village, the league's long-awaited decision over Hucknall's two outstanding postponed games means any lingering doubts are over.

“It was decided this morning that the two Covid postponements are going to be given as average points,” said captain Sam Johnson.

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“For the last three or four weeks we have been safe in the knowledge that we probably were safe anyway.

“We picked up a couple of decent points on Saturday and, with average points should take us to about 62.

“If we go and win at home to Attenborough on Saturday we would end up with 70 points for the year which, with the various circumstances we have had to deal with, is a pretty good effort.”

At Clifton, a fifth wicket partnership of 99 between Kiel Van Vollenhoven (83) and Zehn Rana (35) helped the home side to 228 all out, Sam King claiming 5-38.

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Van Vollenhoven then took 5-44 as Hucknall were bowled out for 211, Johnson with 76 and Vinay Landa 34.

“We were missing both our pros so it was quite a commendable effort,” said Johnson.

“We played pretty well, but we were just a little bit short on quality with the bat.

“When you are two down early it's tough to come back from.

“In the end I was disappointed we didn't win the game. But when you're missing your two players who are paid to make difference you're going to struggle.”

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On his own innings, he said: “I have always liked batting at Clifton. I think it's a really good wicket. I guess it was due after a few low scores in the weeks before. I definitely owed the team some runs.

“But to be honest, when you get into that position, I should be scoring a match-wining 100 and guiding us through to a win and not getting out in the 70s.

“It was a positive batting display from me but tinged with disappointment that I didn't go on and finish the job.”

On King's bowling figures, he added: “Sam bowled great. Missing our pro opening bowler I wanted to give Sam the opportunity to bowl with the new ball and he took it – three wickets in his first five overs.

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“He attacked the stumps and was really good when he came back on later on, changing his pace and length.”

In the end it was Clifton pro Van Vollenhoven's day and Johnson said: “He played like a pro and stood up for them with the bat, getting them to a score with a bit of help around him.

“Then with the ball he took a couple of early wickets and then came back on and took the last three wickets.

“He did the business for them and to be honest he's done that all year. Their two pros this year have done really well.”