A season designed to shoot HUCKNALL into the elite Notts Premier League is still waiting to catch fire after a third successive game without outright victory.
A winning draw and a losing draw in the opening two weeks were followed last Saturday by a 15-run defeat at the hands of Balderton in Division A of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League.
In an interesting contest, Hucknall were set a target of 227 in their allotted 50 overs, and began well enough with openers Dale Campbell (four fours) and Tim Buckthorpe (three fours) both making 21 in a stand worth 48.
However, the duo were soon removed by overseas bowler Jordan Ashby (3-46 in 11 overs), as was new signing Waheed Kayani, sent in at three in place of skipper Robin Maxwell. and the home side were suddenly 71-3.
Maxwell appeared at five, but fell for just seven to a fine low return-catch by Harry Capstick (2-42 in nine overs), and after Richard Greatorex had followed soon afterwards, the run-chase was left primarily in the hands of Scott Harris.
With typical swashbuckling gusto, Harris dealt mainly in boundaries, thumping five sixes and seven fours in a 61-ball knock of 68 that was his highest first-team score for four years.
Just when Hucknall needed him to go on towards a ton, however, Harris was bowled by Luke Endley (3-61 in 14 overs) and when Jack Pates was trapped lbw for nought two balls later, the board read 145-7.
To their credit, Jake Wright (29, three fours) and Suhail Ahmed (19) refused to give up hope, putting on 42. But after two more wickets, Hucknall needed 28 from the last three overs with just one man in hand.
The word came from Maxwell in the pavilion that Wright should go for the win if he could, rather than hang on for a losing draw. But on 211, he over-balanced, playing spinner Chris Dobbie (2-48 in 15.3 overs), and was stumped .
Balderton’s innings had been notable for four catches and one stumping by wicketkeeper Campbell. Maxwell (4-48 in 14 overs) and Dane Straw (3-71 in 15) were the most successful bowlers as Hucknall fought back creditably after the visitors had eased to 126-1 in the hands of Chris Morris (75, three sixes and ten fours).
Indeed Balderton wobbled at 142-5 at one stage before vital stands of 50 for the sixth wicket and 27 for the last.