Relegation closer

ON a day when Lanchester did their own survival chances a power of good, Ashington slipped a little closer to the relegation trap door.

Michael Thewlis’s side need to win a minimum of two out of five games remaining in the campaign to stand any chance of retaining A1 division status – and they do not come any harder for the Colliers as their last three are against Swalwell, Sacriston and Shotley Bridge, the top three sides.

Following a week of torrential rain, two games in the league – Newcastle City v Swalwell and Percy Main v Morpeth – were called off due to unfit grounds.

Ashington’s trip to Lanchester survived and the toss was vital. Quite bluntly Thewlis lost the call, Ashington were duly asked to bat in a match reduced to 35 overs per side and then the troubles started – almost from the off.

Opening bowler Graham Brinton was on a hat-trick after bowling Jack Jessop with the final delivery of his first over then trapping Thewlis leg before from the first ball of his second.

The sorry looking scoreboard continued when Simon Prudhoe was caught by Harrison off Haydn Petch for six with the bowler also accounting for Scott Thornton and Andrew Gray.

When all rounder Stephen Boyd fell in the 15th – caught by Tweedy off Brinton – the Colliers had teetered to 34-6, but Daniel Grant and youngster Adam Nichol stuck to the task almost doubling the score in a partnership worth 31 for the seventh wicket.

Eventually the latter fell in the 24th and was followed by Grant, who hit six boundaries in a top scoring gutsy innings of 39.

Surya Rathore struck one six in a 17-ball unbeaten 13 but ran out of partners with Craig Wood and Callum Storey both being bowled by Stuart McPhail, who finished with figures of 4-13 from 5.3 overs.

The visitors were dismissed for 96 with Brinton (3-22 from ten overs) and Petch (3-30 from ten overs) also playing their parts.

Ashington needed to break through early and Boyd duly obliged, removing Ahmed in the fifth over for five.

Tweedy had already been particularly severe on Wood, taking four boundaries in two overs and 30 were on the board when Boyd struck.

However, Rathore removed dangerman Tweedy, caught behind by Grant for 30 in the eighth over.

Brinton joined Pearson, the pair adding 21 before the latter holed out, being caught low down by Boyd at mid-off.

Nathan Hudson came to the wicket and proceeded to dominate with Ashington’s hopes receding by the minute.

Brinton fell just before the end to Wood with Boyd again pocketing the offering before Hudson took his score on to 34 when he clipped the winning runs from the fifth ball of the 24th over.

On Saturday Ashington are at home to Tynedale, and for the last five weeks of the season, including Saturday, matches begin at the earlier time of 12.30pm.