New Ashington CC skipper Ben Harmison targets team to improve

Ben Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ben Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby
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New Ashington Cricket Club captain Ben Harmison has said the players will have to raise their game in the 2017 campaign.

Harmison, who after a 15-year career as a professional with Durham and Kent, returned to play for his home town team last term and helped the first XI win three pieces of silverware.

He has taken over the reins from Greg Williams, who after five years at the helm has stepped down due to work commitments.

And Harmison is under no illusions that next season will present the players with an added challenge.

The 30-year-old said: “Greg mentioned a couple of months ago that he was going to struggle through work commitments and I said if he was thinking about giving the skipper’s role up, I would like to do it.

“I’m going to be the on field captain then a committee will put teams forward, and with Greg running things in the background management wise, I think everything will work out nicely.”

Harmison has described his appointment as being ‘perfect’.

“I started playing cricket at Langwell Crescent as a youngster before progressing into the sport as a professional,” he said.

“After retiring from the pro game, ideally I wanted to come back to Ashington, my first club.

“The role of captain is perfect for me and hopefully I can help to take the club further forward than where it is now.”

Harmison reflected on a record-breaking 2016 where the Mighty Acorns lifted six trophies.

The first XI won the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside League championship for the first time in 15 years as well as the League Cup and Smithson Cup.

The second XI won the B1 division whilst the thirds took the league and Ian Appleby Cup.

“It was a brilliant season all round,” added Harmison.

“When we started netting at Ashington Leisure Centre in December the aim was to win silverware with the squad we had, but for the club to lift six trophies overall was phenomenal.

“However, we have set the benchmark now and opposing teams are going to come after us, so we will have to raise our game.

“Last year was good but this season will see what Ashington are really made of.”

Meanwhile at the recent AGM, three personnel were awarded life membership – Arnie Gilholm and George Webster, in recognition for outstanding services to the club, and England and Durham pace ace Mark Wood for achievement at cricket’s highest level.