On a day when runs were at a premium, relieved Hucknall grabbed only their second win of the Notts Premier League season after a remarkable match at Radcliffe-on-Trent.
Bottom-of-the-table Hucknall had lost five of their nine matches since gaining promotion as Gunn And Moore South Notts League champions. And they looked set for another when sliding to 99 all out after being put into bat on a wet wicket.
But somehow they turned their fortunes around by removing Radcliffe for just 82 to set up a 17-run triumph that should work wonders for their confidence.
Although they remain at the foot of the table, they are now withing touching distance of their fellow strugglers. Indeed they are only 16 points off sixth place in the 12-team league, with their next match an attractive home clash against title-chasing Cuckney at the New Gatehouse Ground on Saturday.
After all the rainfall leading up to the match, it was no surprise that Radcliffe invited Hucknall to bat first on winning the toss. And it wasn’t long before both openers, Josh Downie and Suhail Ahmed, had fallen to fine deliveries from Ben Savage (3-33 in 12 overs), who also dislodged dangerous South African Dale Campbell (13).
Short partnerships and regular dismissals became the feature of the innings, with captain Robin Maxwell the only batsman to spend any length of time of the crease. Maxwell’s 24 spanned 62 balls, but his exit was one of four wickets to fall for just one run that reduced the total from 83-5 to 84-9.
Both Scott Harris and last man William Spray did add 12, but the honours went to the home bowlers, with success also for Usman Muzaffar (3-16 in 6.5 overs), ex-Notts, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire man David Lucas (2-23 in 11 overs) and Eddie Torr (2-25 in eight overs).
Radcliffe’s reply began with a stand of 20, but the Hucknall bowlers soon began to make inroads. Suhail Ahmed (3-35 in 13 overs) was always threatening, while Joel Wright (2-23 in 11 overs) persistently beat the bat. The pair were soon rewarded and at 42-5, it became clear that Hucknall were in with a shout.
The key to the outcome was how long top scorer Rob Sutton (24) and Lucas could remain at the crease. But at 62, Lucas sustained an injury when setting off for a single and was forced to hobble from the field, retired hurt. Then, at 74, an inspired bowling-change by Maxwell initiated the removal of Sutton, who was trapped lbw by William Spray’s second ball.
The stage was set for the dramatic finale and with Maxwell (3-18 in 5.5 overs) himself returning to the attack to bag three wickets in quick succession, jubilant Hucknall picked up a superb, if unlikely, win. He had Alex Sowter caught on 74, bowled Jacob Deavin-Baker on 77 and then bagged last man Muzaffar lbw, with Lucas still in distress in the pavilion.