Hucknall on brink of promotion to Notts Premier League

DALE'S WIN TON  --  a century by prolific South African Dale Campbell fired Hucknall to thei win over Calverton
DALE'S WIN TON -- a century by prolific South African Dale Campbell fired Hucknall to thei win over Calverton

More remarkable batting by South African import Dale Campbell shot HUCKNALL to the top of the table -- and the verge of historic promotion to the Notts Premier League.

But 24 hours later, their hopes of a league and cup double were dashed in a shock defeat -- without Campbell --at the hands of Kimberley 2nd in the semi-finals of the Popkess Cup.

Campbell , who is fast emerging as one of the best overseas signings Dispatch district cricket has seen, struck a superb century in Hucknall’s latest Gunn And Moore South Notts League, Division A match at Calverton last Saturday.

It helped his side to a winning draw that was enough to lift them four points above previous leaders Attenborough, who slid to a heavy defeat against Gedling Colliery.

Now the two title-chasers have only two matches apiece to play -- with the prize for the team to come out on top being a place in the NPL.

Hucknall travel to bottom-of-the-table Balderton this Saturday before a home match against Long Eaton on the last day of the season. Attenborough also play Long Eaton this weekend and then wrap up by entertaining West Indian Cavaliers 2nd.

Campbell survived an early, confident shout for lbw before going on to compile his most important innings since arriving in this country.

Wickets tumbled at regular intervals at the other end as nervous Hucknall struggled to cope with Calverton paceman Billy Armstrong, who took six for 61 from 12.3 overs.

But the Springbok reached his half-century in 70 balls and his ton in 107 balls, eventually falling for 123, which included two sixes and 16 fours.

He duly became only the third Hucknall player to complete 1,000 league runs (Saturday and Sunday cricket) in a season since the club moved to the New Gatehouse Ground, following in the footsteps of Robin Maxwell and Anthony Timpson.

To emphasisze how valuable the effort was, no other batsman got past 11 until Max Thompson (28) and Josh Buckley (19) added crucial runs late on to push Hucknall’s final total to 228.

Calverton’s reply struggled to find any rhythm, and in the end, they were content to bat out their overs for a losing draw, finishing on 152 for eight.

Bowlers Buckley (three for 39 in 12 overs), Joel Wright (two for 27 in nine), Maxwell (one for 15 in 11) and Adam Scott (one for 26 in 11) kept probing away, but Nathan Johnston’s unbeaten 33 (three fours) denied the visitors maximum points.

THE POPKESS Cup defeat brought Hucknall down to earth, especially as it came against a side halfway down the division below and whose first team will be one of the outfits they face in the NPL if they go up.

The tie was entertaining enough, and the locals looked poised to win when, thanks largely to Scott (three for 36 in eight overs), they reduced the home team to 83 for five and 136 for six, chasing 215 for eight.

But terrific knocks of 51 not out (two sixes and three fours) by captain Steve Bennett, 44 not out (two sixes and four fours) by Joe Allport and 37 (five fours) by Danny Williams got Kimberley home by four wickets with 19 balls to spare. Bennett and Allport shared an unbroken stand of 80.

Williams (three for 36 in nine overs) and Bennett (two for 45 in eight) had also been instrumental earlier in ensuring that Hucknall fell 30 or 40 runs short of the total they should have made after easing to 124 for one.

Aaron Lee made 54 (six fours), Scott Harris 43 (one six and five fours), Jake Wright 31 not out and Maxwell 22. But at one pivotal stage, they lost five wickets for only 30 runs to surrender the initiative.