Hucknall snap up South African for latest NPL promotion chase

SET TO BE UNVEILED -- wotk being carried out on Hucknall's pavilion extension, which is to be opened tonight (Friday)
SET TO BE UNVEILED -- wotk being carried out on Hucknall's pavilion extension, which is to be opened tonight (Friday)

Ambitious HUCKNALL are hoping it will be a case of fourth time lucky when they launch another bid this weekend to win promotion to the Notts Premier League (NPL).

Since moving up to the top tier (Division A) of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League in 2011, Hucknall have finished third, fifth and third again last term.

Now, with talismanic skipper Robin Maxwell again at the helm, they are one of the favourites to finally make it to the promised land of the NPL.

All-rounder Maxwell has established himself as one of the best players outside the elite league, particularly with the bat.

In all competitions last summer, he racked up an astonishing total of more than 2,100 runs, including 830 in South Notts League and cup games.

This time round, he leads a team looking much the same, although they have swapped one overseas player for another.

Out goes Australian bowler Nathan Thomas, who took 33 wixkets last term. In comes South African wicketkeeper/batsman Dale Campbell.

The 26-year-old Campbell, born in Cape Town, has played ten first-class provincial games in his home country and averaged 54.50 with the bat in one-day cricket two seasons ago.

He will be an ideal replacement for stumper Tom Walters, who is spending some time in New Zealand, while the exit of Thomas will be covered by the return to action after injury of highly-rated bowler Josh Buckley, who made a major impact as the club’s professional in 2012.

After amassing 263 points in 2013 -- only 20 behind promoted champions Radcliffe-on-Trent -- Hucknall need only marginal improvement to go up this year. They beat Radcliffe both in the league and also in the final of the league’s Chris Trafford Twenty20 Cup, which they will be aiming to retain.

Maxwell’s men begin their fixtures this Saturday with a trip to Ellerslie, followed by their first home match on 10th May against last season’s runners-up, Wollaton.

However, before then, they have an important date tonight (Friday) when they open the extension to the pavilion at their New Gatehouse Ground headquarters off Hayden Lane.

A plaque will be unveiled by four stalwarts of the club, Peter Mitchell, Doug Casterton, Andy Wagstaff and David Wagstaff, without whose work in the past Hucknall might have folded. They were to have been joined by E.C. ‘Cis’ Rhodes, who sadly died last month.

All members, family and friends are invited to the opening ceremony, which starts at 7 pm and includes a barbecue.