A thrilling final that went to the last over and last wicket ended in heartache for Hucknall’s heroic bid to be crowned Twenty20 champions of the Gunn and Moore South Notts League.
Hucknall, who lifted the silverware in 2013, were pitted against last season’s runners-up, Wollaton, in the Chris Trafford Trophy showpiece, played at Plumtree.
But they fell to an agonising one-wicket defeat with just two balls to spare at the end of an entertaining clash that was almost as hot as the weather.
Robin Maxwell’s side went into the final as favourites because while they sit second in the league’s Division A table, Wollaton are rock-bottom.
Maxwell elected to bat first on winning the toss, and opened the innings himself with a run-a-ball 19 that included two boundaries.
However, his first two partners, Aaron Lee and Scott Harris, both fell cheaply to James Cox (2-17 in four overs) and Hucknall struggled to build rhythm or momentum, especially after Maxwell had departed.
Max Thompson made 23, Jack Pates 21 and Jake Wright 19, but the Gatehouse men lacked a major individuial contribution and ended up with just an ordinary total of 134-8 from their allotted 20 overs.
A sure sign of their struggles was that they managed only three sixes and nine fours, which is way below the T20 standard.
It was left to their bowlers to give Hucknall hope -- and they did just that, even though Wollaton’s reply got off to a sound start in the hands of captain Will Rattray (29, one six and three fours) and opener David Barr (22, three fours).
Spin twins Dane Straw (3-20 in four overs) and Will Spray (3-24 in four) were their heroes with three wickets apiece that reduced their rivals to 60-5, 84-6, 97-7 and 107-8 after they had been 53-2 at one stage.
However, just when Hucknall looked sure to pull off victory, they were thwarted by late defiance from Wollaton tailenders Josh Naylor (22 not out, three fours), Alec Cobbett (13) and Tom Naylor.
As the tension mounted, Thompson ran out Tom Naylor, only for Josh Naylor to crack the winning runs off the fourth ball of the final over, with last man Adam Davies at the crease at the other end.
Hucknall had reached the final with thumping victories over Beeston and Toton Sycamore in the quarter-finals and then Gedling and Sherwood in the semis.
Beeston were bombed out for just 48 in 11.4 overs, with both Joel Wright and Harry Finch bagging three wickets apiece. The rout completed an 82-run win after Hucknall had totalled 130-5, thanks largely to 48 (two sixes and three fours) from Jake Wright.
The semi-final success was just as conclusive as Maxwell’s men rolled out Gedling for 121 before racing to 125-1 with 13 balls in hand.
The bowlers on song were Spray, Adam Scott and Finch, who each took two wickets, while the batsmen to lead the rapid reply were Maxwell with 65 not out (seven fours), Lee with 25 (four fours) and Harris with an unbeaten 22 (three fours).