Ashington surrendered the leadership of the A1 division of the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League to arch rivals Tynedale after an abject batting display at Hexham on Saturday.
The Priors Flat ground provided a perfect setting on a perfect day for cricket – only that the Colliers failed to deliver in their innings.
A hat-trick from David Newton coupled to a five-star performance from the evergreen Richard Darling well and truly put the skids under Greg Williams side who, chasing 147 to win, capitulated in dramatic fashion from 40-3 to 48 all out in 23 stunning minutes.
The collapse immediately brought back memories of more than 30 years ago at the same ground when pace bowler Courtney Walsh – who later found stardom with the West Indies – took 9-15 as the Wansbeck side were routed for 37.
On Saturday, the Colliers had Tynedale teetering on the brink at 66-6, but the hosts were indebted to a fine unbeaten knock of 65 from Callum Barnes before eventually being dismissed for 146 in the penultimate over.
In pursuit, Neil Wood, Simon Prudhoe and Jack Jessop all fell inside the first nine overs, but it was the 13th which proved pivotal.
Newton was brought into the attack for Akash Fotedar and within his first three deliveries had swung the outcome of the game dramatically towards his side as he claimed a hat-trick.
With his first ball he trapped Anirudh Singh, the only Ashington batsman to reach double figures, for 23, then Ben O’Brien drove straight to extra cover whilst Scott Dunn was bowled.
Darling took three of the final four wickets to fall, ending with figures of 5-17, with Newton taking 4-4 from two overs which led to a crushing victory margin of 98 runs inside 17 overs.
Earlier Barnes’s near two hours occupation at the crease had rescued his side as he completed his half century from 70 balls.
Jamie Crichton and Dean Owen both scored 19, the latter in a last wicket stand of 30 with Barnes.
Peter Finch had sent Connor Fellowes’ leg stump cart wheeling out of the ground as he shared four wickets with Callum Storey.
When Singh had Thomas Cant caught and bowled and Storey returned to claim the wicket of Crichton, the home side were 66-6, but James Rainford, Fotedar and Owen gave support to Barnes, which resulted in a final score of 146.
Finch, Singh and Craig Wood took two wickets apiece with Storey leading the way with 4-23 from 12 overs.
Tynedale 20 points
Ashington 5 points
A half century from Michael Thewlis (52) proved crucial for Ashington seconds in their 76 runs win over Tynedale’s second string at Langwell Crescent on Saturday, the hosts ending with 139-8 from 45 overs.
Youngster Matty Potts and Chris Watson then came to the fore as they ripped through the Hexham side with figures of 4-8 and 3-12 respectively, which not only ensured the Colliers maximum points but also consolidated their top of the league placing.
Match sponsor: John Mein, Motor Mechanic, Lintonville Parkway.
On Saturday, Ashington play Annfield Plain with the first XI at home and the seconds away.