Flying start as Cuckney beat rivals Papplewick & Linby on opening day
Cuckney made a superb start to the new Nottinghamshire Premier League season with an 85-run victory over likely title rivals Papplewick & Linby on Saturday.
But neighbours Mansfield Hosiery Mills were beaten by 94 runs at home by another of the big guns in Kimberley Institute.
Cuckney's victory was even achieved without either of their professionals - Dutch international Paul van Meekeren and South African Codi Yusuf – and sent out a clear warning to the rest of the league.
But they were slow starting, sat on 66-5 before William Butler's 70 steadied the ship as they made 216-9 before bowling out Papplewick for 131, Drew Owen the pick of the bowlers with 3-26.
“It was a really good start for us,” said vice captain Richard Bostock.
“We won the toss and wanted to bat first. We started a little bit shaky but it turned into a really good day. We let our experience show where we are at this year.”
On the missing professional duo, he said: “As it turned out last week Cody's 10 days are not up until Thursday but he is back for this weekend. His quarantine over-ran.
“Paul was playing for the Netherlands and they made the final which was on Saturday. But he landed back today and is all good for the weekend too.”
He praised Butler's knock, saying: He is a very handy and experienced cricketer to have coming in at number six.
“We had a couple of young lads at the top of the order that will score runs this year no doubt.
“But Will got in early doors, really made that experience count, got stuck in and definitely set us up for a decent total.”
Bostock said it was a fine start to give a bloody nose to one of their expected rivals on day one.
“We think Papplewick will be in and around the top three this year. They have definitely strengthened,” he said.
“The only advantage we had over them were we were at home and we know what to do on our own pitch. And we also understand where we are while I think they are still trying to find their feet a little bit.
“We knew our strengths and we knew we had batters to come in when we lost wickets. And we knew we could change bowlers when things weren't going to plan.”
It doesn't get any easier this Saturday when they face another of their likely rivals, Kimberley Institute, away.
“Kimberley is always a big game in recent years and they certainly look like one of the top sides again this year,” he said.
“They won the title last time we had a full year.
“So this game will really be a benchmark for both teams. I know it's early season and a loss for either team won't be too detrimental.
“But, certainly, if we go out and beat Papplewick and then beat Kimberley people will definitely have eyes on us as title contenders.”
Despite defeat, Hosiery Mills captain Adam Dobb said their performance had given the club a boost.
Chasing Kimberley's imposing 276-7 total, Hosiery Mills were bowled out for 182.
Star man Sam Wood hit 63 for Kimberley, Matt Wright (2-44) and Daniel Harris (2-52) taking four of the wickets to fall.
A second wicket stand of 72 between Patrick Delahunty (37) and Matt Dean (35) was the Millers' highlight, Dane Schadendorf adding 32, before they were ripped out by Kimberley, Alex King taking 3-36.
“Kimberley are a really strong outfit,” said Dobb. “I have grown up with a lot of those guys and I know what they are about.
“But it was a good challenge to start the year with for us and something we were quite looking forward to.
“There were a lot of positives for us to take from the game in terms of how our season went last year. We didn't quite make the two bonus points but we took a lot from the game that will have lifted the guys for the rest of the year.
“Initially our main aim was just to make sure we stayed up this season.
“But after the weekend, and having a couple of lads join us, we are really looking to push towards the middle of the table and I think we'll surprise a few people with some wins this year.”
This weekend the Millers head to Caythorpe.
“I think that will be a good game,” added Dobb. “We nearly got over the line twice against them last year and we now have a bit more experience in the side this year.
“So we will be looking to push a win out and hopefully get the first 'W' of the season on the board.”
Elsewhere last weekend, Hucknall (190-3) won by seven wickets at Attenborough (189), Cavaliers & Carrington (200-8) saw off Caythorpe (149) by 51 runs, Clifton (226) beat Wollaton (191) by 35 runs and Radcliffe (227) beat Plumtree (191) by 36 runs.