The alarm bells are beginning to sound at HUCKNALL after another wonderful exhibition by South African batsman Dale Campbell failed to prevent a stunning defeat.
Opener Campbell delivered a century full of dash and plunder to put Hucknall in a commanding position at Belvoir in Division A of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League.
But his knock of 116 (three sixes and ten fours) off 124 balls was followed by an astonishing collapse and then a ton of similar brilliance by home opener Jack Copley that sent Belvoir to the top of the table, after landing the Division B title, last term and Robin Maxwell’s side hurtling to a nine-wicket reverse.
With just one win from their opening five matches, the pre-season rallying-call by Maxwell to make this the season Hucknall finally make the Notts Premier League (NPL) is already in danger of falling on stony ground.
Yet it all seeemed so different for the first couple of hours of the afternoon as the visitors responded to being put into bat with a first-wicket partnership of 116 between the buccaneering Campbell and Tim Buckthorpe, who made a calm and collected 34 (four fours) in support.
A big total looked assured, but once Buckthorpe had been bowled round his legs by fourth-change bowler Lewis Dann, the match changed dramatically. Twenty-one runs later, Dann also removed Maxwell for just eight and he went on to take 6-50 in an impressive 13-over spell.
As Greg Oldfield weighed in with 3-47 from 16 overs at the other end, not one other Hucknall batsman could muster double figures. Campbell was seventh man out, also removed by Dann, on 188 and the locals sank to 193 all out after losing their last eight wickets for just 56 runs.
Tails up, Belvoir went about their reply in exemplary fashion, spearheaded by the power and elegance of Copley, who fired two sixes and no fewer than 18 fours in his 112. At the other end, Josh Sharpe (nine fours) was the perfect foil with an unbeaten 64, and by the time their first-wicket partnership of 161 was finally broken, Belvoir were well on their way to victory.
The winning hit was a six in the 33rd over to complete a miserable effort by Hucknall’s weak-looking bowling attack that is clearly missing Josh Buckley, who has departed for Stapleford.