Hucknall Cricket Club are this week basking in the glory of achieving promotion to the prestigious NCB Premier League – the county’s top club competition.
It was Hucknall’s first ever Saturday title and booked their first ever season in the top flight.
Promotion was achieved after they took enough points from a winning draw in their final game away to Long Eaton on Saturday and skipper Robin Maxwell said: “It was an incredible feeling.
“We pretty much had the title won before the game. It was almost a foregone conclusion though we still had to get the points, which looked a little dicey at one stage when we were 0-1 after six overs.
“But it is fantastic to win it. The week before had almost guaranteed it, it was just about the final bell ringing and it was fantastic to get there.”
Maxwell has seen the club rise to the top division over his seven and a half years there and now can’t wait to mix it with the big boys.
“When I arrived at the club in mid-2008 we were in Division C,” he said.
“Now I can’t wait for next season. There are some ex-professionals and ex-Test players in the Premier League at the minute like Corey Collymore.
“Pitting our wits against those kind of players will be a good test and it’s pretty exciting to be fair.”
Maxwell is convinced the club won’t need too many new faces to make an impact on the Premier League.
“We are a tight-knit bunch of guys and team spirit counts for a lot,” he said.
“We are all of a similar age. We don’t really have any youngsters. We are all hardened cricketers of a good age, and all good players as we have proved.
“We will certainly give the guys we have got a decent shot at Premier League cricket, though we may need to add one or two quality players. We should be competitive next summer – that’s the aim.”
Although Hucknall just failed to take the final Long Eaton wicket on Saturday, they still did enough to leave West Park with the required number of points in the bag to be crowned champions.
Asked to bat, Hucknall made a solid 289-6 from their 50 overs.
It didn’t start well as opener Tim Buckthorpe was caught behind before a run had been posted.
But then skipper Robin Maxwell (108) and Dale Campbell (87) put on 161 for the second wicket before Maxwell joined Aaron Lee (64 not out) in adding another 81 for the third wicket to put them in firm control.
Ryan Cuthbert was Long Eaton’s best bowler with 5-64.
Long Eaton were never going to stay with the rate required and ended up clinging to their final wicket at 202-9, Tim Taylor scoring 43 and Ryan Cuthbert 43. Adam Scott (4-72) and Jack Pates (3-67) were Hucknall’s chief successes with the ball.
After leading Division H for most of the season Lowdham capitulated on the final day as they were bowled out for just 44 by third-placed Hucknall III, who had Nathan Whittamore (3-14), George Judd (3-16) and James Guthrie 3-10 all returning magnificent figures.
That result gave fellow title contenders Young Lions the chance to grab the title, and they did with both hands bowling opponents Hyson Green Carrington out for 121 and finished on 122-3 in reply.