Pro duo in as Hucknall CC recruit four new faces
Despite the huge blow of losing star batsman Sam Wood, Hucknall CC captain Sam Johnson believes the club have a better squad after a busy winter of comings and goings as the new Nottinghamshire Premier League season nears.
Wood, Hucknall's only professional last time around, has joined rivals Kimberley, but Hucknall have now recruited two new professionals, bringing in ex-Farnsfield and Nottsvbatsman Sol Budinger from Radcliffe-on-Trent, along with seamer Waseem Fazal from Ticknall in the Derbyshire League.
They have also brought in keeper/batsman Nolan Benson from Gedling Colliery to replace Josh Downey, who has moved away with work, and also coming in from Gedling, is highly promising Notts Academy Player of the Year, all-rounder Sam King.
“When you lose someone as good as Sam Wood it might knock you back a little bit, but I feel really confident with the guys we've managed to bring in,” said Johnson.
“I don't think you can directly replace Sam Wood for the quality he brings, but we have added quality and depth in the batting and bowling to more than cover that. I feel really confident where we are at.
“In recent years we have been trying to improve the squad and for whatever reason it hasn't always happened, so to bring in the four that we have I think we are in a really good place to start the season.
In the first XI's first pre-season friendly at Chesterfield last weekend, they were beaten by five overs.
But Hassan Chaudry retired on 54, Sam King adding 51 on a day when squad members were utilised in depth.
Hucknall made 213/7 but, despite 3-26 from Josh Bembridge's 10 overs were beaten with an over to spare.
Johnson said: “It was a good work out and I don't think we showed too much rust – we acquitted ourselves really nicely. It is just a case of getting back into that game environment.
“It wasn't our strongest side – we are trying to make sure everyone gets some cricket pre-season. And we were up against a near full strength Chesterfield side. We played some really good cricket.”
This weekend Hucknall host Collingham on Saturday, with the game open to spectators, while their seconds got to Kimberley on Sunday.