ASHINGTON were relegated to the A2 division on Saturday night after defeat against Swalwell at Langwell Crescent.
The Colliers – whose survival hopes were hanging by a thread before play – did make a fist of things against the defending champions, bowling them out for 170.
However, former Durham player Nicky Phillips, who had second top scored with 35, then spun his magic with the ball to earn man of the match honours with figures of 7-21.
And whilst Phillips’ spell well and truly sunk the home side, the right armer struck just in the nick of time to keep Swalwell’s own title hopes alive as the season draws to a close this Saturday.
Phillips was left on a hat-trick after bowling Craig Wood and Callum Storey with successive deliveries to end the Ashington innings, which enabled his side to collect 20 points.
Then, within minutes, rain swept across the ground which could have scuppered Swalwell’s hopes of taking a maximum haul.
Whilst relegation for Ashington was confirmed, Swalwell on the other hand go into the final game on Saturday eight points behind leaders Sacriston as they bid to win the championship title for a fifth successive season.
Swalwell took first strike and apart from opener Lloyd Anderson who scored 29, they were indebted to a half century from Ian Pattison, which included four boundaries before the experience of Phillips came to the fore.
He came to the wicket in the 33rd over with the Swalwell on 96 and departed in the last as his side ended on 170.
For the Colliers, youngster Callum Storey was the star performer with the ball, taking 5-50 from 11.4 overs with Craig Wood (2-36), Stephen Boyd (1-38) and Surya Rathore (1-38) also amongst the wickets.
Ashington then found runs in short supply.
Greg Williams fell lbw to Gary Johnson in the 12th over with only 16 on the board then Daniel Grant and Andrew Gray fell in successive deliveries off Phillips.
The arrival of Boyd in partnership with skipper Michael Thewlis saw an increase in the scoring with the latter hitting four fours before he fell lbw to Phillips for 33.
That was in the 23rd over after a stand of 37 between the pair with the total on 56, and shortly afterwards, the dismissal of Boyd for 17 led to a rapid end for the Colliers whose last five wickets fell for 18 runs.
Phillips claimed his seven wicket haul from 13.3 overs with Hughes taking 2-15 and Johnson 1-20.
Match ball sponsor: John Mein, Motor Mechanic.
Ashington 5 points
Swalwell 20 points
On Saturday, Ashington travel to play Shotley Bridge at The Spa ground.