Ashington’s overseas player Anirudh Singh etched his name into the annals of a famous cricket club on Saturday.
But his magnificent century was not enough to prevent the Colliers from tumbling to a second defeat in a row in the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League A1 division.
Burnopfield – birthplace of the late and legendary swashbuckling batsman Colin Milburn, who also plied his trade with his home town club before moving onto a career with Northamptonshire and England – recently bade farewell to their old ground and moved to a new venue which, given time to bed in, will provide an idyllic setting.
Milburn was known as the Burnopfield Basher, and how ironic that although the home side’s Josh Bent delivered the mightiest of blows which not only went over the ropes but also over the plush pavilion, it was Singh with seven sixes and nine fours whose calm and effortless hundred provided the major talking point during the tea interval.
After the midweek rain, the contest was delayed by an hour and consequently reduced to 40 overs per side – with Ashington taking first strike.
Having lost Neil Wood from the final ball of the 12th over, Jack Jessop joined Singh and the pair dominated the bowling.
The latter reached his 50 with a six over long-on, but Jessop played his part too, including two delightful boundaries through mid-wicket in the 24th over, which also saw the Ashington hundred come up.
However, in the 32nd, Jessop, on 31, skied a delivery from Gregor Rowe and was caught by Harry Lovell.
Singh, clipping delightfully off his legs, driving well and punishing anything short, completed his century, and the first to be scored on Burnopfield’s new ground, with a single, but three overs later as the innings drew to a conclusion, the left hander fell to a caught and bowled by Mark Nunn for 113 compiled from 105 balls.
Ben O’Brien meanwhile, moved swiftly on to 41 from 25 deliveries before he was out from the last ball of the innings to a splendid catch by James Radcliffe off Lovell with the Colliers closing on 218-4.
In reply, the home side were more or less up with the required rate and were severe on any loose deliveries.
They had 50 on the board in nine overs with Harry Lovell dominating, and even after a double quick and much needed breakthrough, Ashington found the going tough.
Anirudh Singh forced Lovell to loft the ball into the air where he was caught by Peter Finch at mid-off in the 11th, then James Radcliffe edged behind to Daniel Grant.
At 94-3 at half way, Bent showed his intentions by smashing the first delivery after drinks for six to bring the hundred up.
The required rate did increase to six, but with Bent hitting the ball very hard and being ably assisted by Malcolm Clarke, it made for an exciting finale.
Clarke was caught in the deep by Williams, and in the 30th over, Ashington must have thought the pendulum had swung dramatically in their favour when Bent, who had included seven fours and three sixes in a 51-ball knock of 58, attempted a second after a miss field and was run out by Singh’s throw to Matty Storey at the bowler’s end.
But Lawrence Davey (37) and Mark Nunn continued with Burnopfield’s push and after requiring 19 to win from three overs, Nunn clinched victory for his side in dramatic style, smashing the second ball of the final over into the sightscreens to record the 18th six of the game.
Burnopfield 17 points
Ashington 8 points
At Langwell Crescent, left hander Simon Prudhoe hit eight boundaries in a superb unbeaten 112 after opening the batting for Ashington seconds who went on to enjoy a 95 runs victory over Backworth seconds.
The Colliers, who as a result continue to lead the B1 division, totalled 182-5 from their allotted 45 overs – then dismissed the visitors for 87 from 33.4 overs.
James Morgan and Graeme Fairbairn top scored for the Welfare side with 26 each, but spinner Chris Watson claimed 4-28 from ten overs whilst other wickets were taken by Ian Sharkey (2-13), Graham Whitworth (2-18), Matthew Potts (1-4) and Alex Storey (1-18).
On Saturday (June 7), Ashington’s first XI are at home to Alnmouth & Lesbury with the seconds travelling to face Greenside.