O’Brien and Prudhoe steer Ashington to win at Ponteland

Ashington batsman Simon Prudhoe finding the boundary on his way to an unbeaten half century. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington batsman Simon Prudhoe finding the boundary on his way to an unbeaten half century. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ben O’Brien smashed his fourth half century of the season and Simon Prudhoe his first as Ashington continue to mount a challenge for the league championship.

They recorded a convincing eight wickets win against Ponteland at Callerton Lane on Saturday.

And what a difference a few weeks makes. Since nursing sore wounds in an abject and forgettable display against Swalwell a couple of Saturdays ago, where they picked up a miserly two points and fell five places down the table, Greg Williams’ side have not only collected back to back wins over Shotley Bridge and Ponteland but bagged 39 points from a possible 40.

And the upshot is that the Colliers are now in third place in the division, albeit amongst a tight knit group of four teams separated only by four points.

And what a turnaround in fortunes on Saturday as dismissing the home side for 142 in the 43rd over never looked a possibility as openers Ritzema and Whitley went along at a cracking rate to post 64 in 15 overs.

But it all began to change from the 16th as Anirudh Singh, who unusually had been dispatched for two sixes by Whitley, struck a double blow in quick succession.

He had Ritzema smartly caught at backward point by Paul Rutherford for 36 and also held on to a return catch from Whitley who had made 29.

Sandwiched in between both dismissals, left arm spinner Rutherford accounted for Davidson, who failed to trouble the scorers as the home side slipped to 67-3.

After losing three wickets in the 60s, Ponteland saw their next three fall in the 80s.

Callum Storey, on his return to the side, caught and bowled Taylor then was indebted to Matty Storey who safely held onto a catch at second slip to send back McCready.

The Storey brothers figured again in the 29th over, Appleby being caught at point by Callum off Matty then nine wickets down with the score on 113, Ponteland’s last pair at the crease, Penfold and McGregor, put up a determined effort with a stand worth 29 before the former was pouched by skipper Greg Williams at long-off for 34.

Callum Storey ended with 3-41 from 9.5 overs; Rutherford 3-22 from 11; with two wickets each for Singh (2-26) and Matty Storey (2-37).

Neil Wood was Ashington’s first casualty after a stunning catch by Ritzema off Gardiner in the sixth over.

A stand of 33 then developed between Singh and Simon Prudhoe before the former was trapped leg before for 30, an innings which featured four fours and two sixes.

The in-form O’Brien came in to partner Prudhoe and the pair rattled off the runs required in 12 overs with left hander Prudhoe including nine boundaries in his unbeaten 56 and O’Brien three fours and three sixes in an undefeated 51.

After reaching his half century, Prudhoe blocked the last two balls of the over which enabled O’Brien the opportunity to clinch his own 50, and at the same time victory for the Wansbeck outfit.

Ponteland 3 points

Ashington 20 points

In their Tyneside Charity Bowl match against Seaton Burn in midweek, the Colliers progressed after a 16-run victory. Scores: Ashington: 124-8 (Singh 37,Grant 34, M Storey 29); Seaton Burn 108-9 (M Ali 23, Sharkey 3-15, Singh 3-18).

On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Percy Main.