With monsoon conditions menacingly forecast for the Wansbeck area and news of heavy rain a few miles down the road at Longhirst, Ashington calmed a potential storm of their own with a hard earned but deserved victory over Ponteland at Langwell Crescent.
The Colliers went into the game not only on the back of a defeat at Consett the previous week but having suffered three reverses in four matches.
The 22 runs success arrested the slide and in a tightly knit league table saw Greg Williams side leapfrog above Saturday’s opponents and move into fourth place.
Cricket is always regarded as being a team game – although individuals performances regularly come to the fore – and indeed there were several notable displays which lay behind Ashington’s fourth win of the campaign.
Not least was another crucial role played by Williams himself, who led from the front with bat and ball.
Colliers openers Neil Wood and Anirudh Singh made an impression from the first ball as they put on 50 inside the first 14 overs before the atmosphere changed when Singh danced down the track to Wayne Ritzema and was stumped by wicketkeeper Dan Wright for 40.
Simon Prudhoe and Wood then endured a period where they found scoring difficult, but they nevertheless worked hard before the former was bowled in the 29th over by David Waters.
Wood – looking to celebrate his birthday in style – was next to go when he skied Waters and was caught by the bowler for 37.
Ashington then lost a flurry of wickets. Ben O’Brien fell lbw to former Collier Mark Turnbull; Jack Jessop was caught at mid-off by Wayne Ritzema off Ed Common for a patient 27; Daniel Grant was caught around the corner by Liam Cosgrove and in the same over – the 45th – Sonu Singh miscued and was pouched at mid-off by Common.
But Williams once again came up trumps, playing a forceful innings.
The home skipper only faced 12 deliveries in a cameo 20 minutes knock but struck three fours and two sixes – the latter a massive effort over the mid-wicket boundary before he was bowled by Common next ball.
Callum Storey also contributed with 13 whilst tail enders Craig Wood and Peter Finch took their side to 199-9 at the close.
Waters finished a seven overs spell with figures of 5-27.
After the wicket had been rolled during the tea interval, Wayne Ritzema and Common made light of what had been a difficult pitch as they added 37 for the opening wicket before Peter Finch broke the partnership with his fourth delivery, bowling the latter for 14.
Wayne and James Ritzema then engineered a stand which put their side in control of proceedings, the former completing a fine half century in the 31st over.
But a shrewd move by Williams to bring himself into the attack in tandem with Anirudh Singh proved pivotal.
The brake applied and the rate required having escalated to five an over, the home skipper then turned to pace with Craig Wood introduced from the Ashbourne Crescent end.
And like Finch beforehand, Wood struck with his fourth delivery having the seemingly unflappable Wayne Ritzema caught at point by O’Brien.
The hundred came up in the 34th over before Williams bowled Tom Seymour for 15 then delivered a full toss which Iftikhar Fazal smashed towards the long on boundary where he was pouched by Finch.
Again the rate went up but the Colliers got another boost when James Ritzema was well caught at cover by Neil Wood off Craig Wood in the 42nd.
Requiring ten an over with 24 deliveries left, Storey shattered the stumps of Anthony Quarrell for 34 then an action packed final two overs saw wickets fall rapidly as Jonathan Appleby, Wright and Waters succumbed.
With the Real Ale and Cider Festival ticking along nicely in the clubhouse nearby, the home side were punch drunk as they picked up maximum points from the penultimate ball, with Storey swooping in the outfield to fire a throw into wicketkeeper Grant which resulted in Mark Turnbull being run out.
Match sponsor: David Down, Station MOT Centre.
In midweek, Ashington lost their League Cup match at Swalwell on the last ball.
Ashington: 107-7 (Ben O’Brien 37 not out; Anirudh Singh 31); Swalwell 108-3 (Chris Hewison 43).
On Saturday Ashington are away to Shotley Bridge.
Friends Kenneth Cockburn and David Curry thanked Ashington Cricket Club for inviting them to host a ‘hog roast’ over the weekend – the duo raising funds for Marie Curie.