Two narrow defeats in a 'nearly weekend' for battling Hucknall

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It was a real 'nearly weekend' for Hucknall as they lost by three wickets at home to Kimberley Institute in the Nottinghamshire Premier League on Saturday before being pipped by five runs at Grantham in the big national knockout Royal London ECB Club Championship on Sunday.

On Saturday Hucknall paid the price in the end for being all out for 79, despite a valiant fightback, while on Sunday, away to quality opposition, they failed to pick off the runs needed in the dramatic final over.

“I don't think you will win many fixtures if you're all out for 79,” said captain Sam Johnson on the defeat to Kimberley.

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“But in that situation the minimum you expect is for everyone to give it a really good go and fight - and we did that.

Connor Ramm on his way to 3-14 against Kimberley.Connor Ramm on his way to 3-14 against Kimberley.
Connor Ramm on his way to 3-14 against Kimberley.

“We bowled really well and certain things maybe didn't go our way at times. But when you strip it tight back, you won't win many fixtures with a really below-par total on the board.

“There were some poor shots, but I have to give the opposition more credit than that as I thought they bowled and executed their plan really well. They got early wickets and kept their foot on the floor.”

Put into bat Hucknall were all out in 35.5 overs, Mathew Roberts with 19, Jake Wright 17 and George Bacon 4-23 off 10.

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Kimberley then stuttered at 60-7, Daniel Blatherwick taking 3-14 off nine overs and Connor Ramm 3-14 off eight, but Dom Brown made 19 and Jack Nightingale 16 as they won in 33.3 overs.

On Sunday Grantham chose to bat and made 245-6 in their 40 overs, Zain Abbas with 97, Qundeel Haider 40, and D. Hughes-Francis 32.

In reply Hucknall lost Nolan Benson for a duck, but Daniel Blatherwick (31) and Mathew Roberts (60) rallied, then Nicol Loftie-Eaton (77) and Dom Wheatley (45) took them agonisingly close, Dhruv Shafu with 3-26 off five, as they ended on 240.

“It was a blow to lose the toss on a good wicket as we wanted to bat first,” said Johnson.

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“But it was a really good effort and a little bit more quality near the end would have seen us over the line.

“It was a really good learning experience for the young group we've got.

“They are the, or one of the, best sides in the Lincolnshire Premier League and have a lot of lads who we have played against before in Nottinghamshire. So we knew it would be a tough game and we did really well.

“With five overs left we were ahead of the game but it didn't quite go our way.

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“We needed eight off the last over but there were a couple of dot balls and a couple of wickets. But it probably shouldn't have got to that point. We should have been further ahead, but that's the way it goes in a run chase sometimes.

“We lost two set batsmen within an over of each other and never really recovered.

“Several batsmen scored well but we just needed one of them to be not out at the end and then we'd have got the victory.”

This Saturday Hucknall head for champions Cavaliers & Carrington and Johnson added: “What better way to bounce back now than beating the best side in the league? That's the way I am looking at it. If we're going to beat anyone then why not Cavaliers?”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​