Maxwell guides Hucknall back to trail of double

GLAD MAX  --  Hucknall bowler Max Thompson, who took five wickets to cap the cup win over Eastwood Town.
GLAD MAX -- Hucknall bowler Max Thompson, who took five wickets to cap the cup win over Eastwood Town.

With skipper Robin Maxwell playing another remarkably influential role, determined HUCKNALL returned on course for a league and cup double after their deadly defeat the previous week.

For they not only bounced back to winning ways (just!) in the Gunn And Moore South Notts League, Division A title race, they also powered into the semi-finals of the league’s Popkess Cup with an awesome batting display.

The wonderful weekend went some way towards erasing the memory of the setback against fellow title-chasers Attenborough.

Attenborough triumphed again, but they are only eight points in front of the locals at the top of the table, with four matches to play.

Struggling West Indian Cavaliers 2nd were the team Hucknall fended off to resurrect their Division A fortunes last Saturday. It wasn’t pretty and they had only two balls to spare at the end of a contest reduced to 40 overs per side by rain. But the result was all that mattered to Robin Maxwell’s men.

After Maxwell had lost the toss, Hucknall had to bat in difficult conditions that favoured the bowlers, and South African star Dale Campbell was soon caught behind for only two .

However, the captain himself ensured no more further alarms. Relieved to survive a dropped chance on four, Maxwell went on to make a highly responsible 91 not out from 117 balls.

He cracked one six and ten fours, and shared one crucial stand of 68 with Richard Greatorex (30, six fours).

A quickfire burst of three wickets from Patrick Gorda (three for 54 in 13 overs) left Hucknall wobbling on 141 for seven.

But Maxwell remained and found another willing partner in Josh Buckley, who added an unbeaten 16 at the death as the visitors closed on 197 for seven, boostedalso by 37 extras.

When Cavaliers replied, Hucknall steadily worked their way through their batting, with all six bowlers picking up wiickets.

Buckley (two for 26 in 11 overs) struck a couple of early blows and after defiant knocks of 38 (one six and five fours) from Gorda and 29 (one six and five fours) from Zahid Iqbal, man-of-the-match Maxwell weighed in with three for 29 in five overs.

The only question to be decided was whether Hucknall’s efforts would result in a winning draw or an outright win. The answer came in the final over when Tim Buckthorpe trapped Shoaib Azad lbw for the last wicket on 159.

THE OUTCOME clearly restored Hucknall’s confidence because, 24 hours later, they demolished Eastwood Town by 151 runs in the Popkess Cup.

Eastwood, who hail from a division below, dared to put the locals in on a good-looking New Gatehouse Ground track. And they were soon made to regret it as Hucknall amassed 310 for six in their allotted 45 overs.

Three batsmen raced to half-centuries -- opener Aaron Lee (54, eight fours), Jack Pates (74 not out, one six and seven fours) and then Maxwell, whose delayed entrance to number seven in the order could not prevent him smacking a rapid 58 (seven fours).

Lee Smith also added 48 (one six and four fours) and Jake Wright 21, while Eastwood generously leaked 40 extras, including 27 wides.

In reply, Eastwood moved to 85 for two in the hands of Stephen Dockrell (40, nine fours) and skipper Neil Gregory (38, one six and six fours).

But both were removed by that man Maxwell (three for 19 in five overs) before Max Thompson ran through the rest of the order with figures of five for 28 from nine overs.

In the last four, Hucknall will play Kimberley 2nd away on Sunday 17th August.