Libby hits a century as Hucknall secure safety

Hucknall secured a place in next year’s Nottinghamshire Premier League with a game to spare after a superb win at Farnsfield.

The hosts started the day in the relegation zone, Hucknall 11 points ahead of them with two other sides very close together.

As it turned out other results went against both teams, so the win for Hucknall was a huge relief but relegated Farnsfield.

Farnsfield won the toss and elected to bowl, getting off to a perfect start when Paul Franks took Josh Downie’s outside edge to be caught behind.

Franks then had Jibran Azam caught and Hucknall were 7 for 2 and in deep trouble.

From then on everything went Hucknall’s way as century partnerships of 106 by Jake Libby and Adil Ali and 129 between Libby and Sam Johnson took Hucknall towards a challenging score.

Libby hit his sixth century for Hucknall, and his first away from home, but was out for 101 off 132.

Ali had fallen for 56, his third half century in the last five innings.

Johnson fell short of his hundred but his 91 was his best innings for Hucknall in both quantity, quality and importance.

A final score of 278 for 5 was Hucknall’s second highest away from home in the Premier League.

Farnsfield’s reply started badly for them but superbly for Harry Finch, who bowled Franks second ball and then took two more of the top order. With Robin Maxwell nipping in with the key wicket of Callum Mckenzie, the bowling remained tight and the home side never got away.

All the remaining batsmen got in, but nobody could play the main big innings required as the spinners began to work their way through.

Ali trapped Matt Roberts lbw and then had Steve Musgrove caught by Johnson before Libby dismissed his Notts team mate Patterson-White.

At 118 for 7 the game was up for Farnsfield but Liam Delaney and Joe Worrall kept Hucknall at bay with partnership of 43, but with overs running out Hucknall looked to have the points to keep them up.

Victory was obviously the aim and it came as Johnson dismissed both batsman before, fittingly, Libby had the last word by bowling Mark Hallam.

Saturday’s final game at home to champions Kimberley can now be played without pressure, but there are still final table placings to fight for.