Ashington Cricket Club’s first XI capitulated to a 168-run defeat against Swalwell in their A1 division game at Derwenthaugh on Saturday.
Despite blue skies, conditions for players and spectators were far from pleasant with a strong and bitterly cold wind blowing around the ground.
But the ball was hot as home openers Chris Hewison and Lloyd Anderson punished any loose bowling as they got their side off to a good start with 28 on the board from the first five overs.
The pair had advanced the total to 72 by the 18th over when the former, a thorn in Ashington’s side last season in the same fixture, hoisted the last ball of spinner Anirudh Singh’s fourth over and was well caught inside the long-on boundary by Simon Prudhoe for 36.
However, Anderson and James Welch (46) forged an almost identical stand before Anderson clipped Paul Rutherford around the corner and was safely pouched at short fine leg by Callum Storey for a 95 ball knock of 77, an innings which included eight boundaries.
On occasions throughout the afternoon, dark clouds skirted the ground but Lee Innes, another player who has been a nemesis to the Colliers over the years, produced a hard-hitting innings which lit up the skies with a quick-fire unbeaten 60 from 51 deliveries, which was spiced with one boundary and three sixes as Swalwell closed on 246-5.
Ashington’s reply was catastrophic with their demise beginning in the very first over.
From the fourth ball, in-form Anirudh Singh, who went into the contest on the back of three consecutive centuries, pulled a ball from Guy Saxton straight down Innes’s throat at square leg and departed for nought.
Simon Prudhoe, Ben O’Brien and Daniel Grant quickly followed suit, also to Saxton, with the Colliers teetering to 15-4 then 26-5 before left handed opener Neil Wood (24) and skipper Greg Williams (22) forged the most profitable stand of the innings worth 30 for the sixth wicket.
Wood fell to a one-handed catch at slip by Hewison then Williams succumbed three overs later.
The Colliers were eventually shot out for 88 from the third ball of the 26th over, Saxton taking 4-17 from eight overs; Lee Whitfield 3-26; Nicky Phillips 2-20 and Stephen Smith 1-21.
The result and meagre points haul saw the Wansbeck side, who began the day fourth from top, plummet alarmingly five places down the table.
Swalwell 20 points
Ashington 2 points
On Saturday, Ashington face Shotley Bridge at Langwell Crescent.