Skipper leads from the front in opening win

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ASHINGTON Cricket Club skipper Greg Williams accepted a piece of advice to help steer his side to a 20-point maximum victory over neighbours Alnwick at Langwell Crescent on Saturday.

Following his appointment as the new captain, Williams’ father Steve, himself a former skipper at the club, whilst offering a message of congratulations, also handed out an advisory measure to Williams junior.

Steve said at the time that in certain situations Greg ought to lead by example and take a bit of responsibility.

And after two washouts and with his side in deep trouble at 14-3 and later 66-6 in their first match in the A2 division following relegation last term, Williams certainly came to the fore, playing a key role with a gritty innings which ran for 109 minutes.

He eventually went caught in the deep from the third ball of the 47th over after having stepped on the accelerator in the latter stages of his knock in an effort to make sure his bowlers had somethingto attack.

Williams won the toss and elected to bat but quickly found his outfit in trouble with Neil Wood, Andrew Gray and vice-captain Daniel Grant all back in the pavilion inside the first 13 overs with Alnwick bowler Daniel Graham taking all three wickets.

Michael Thewlis struck six boundaries in 39 before he fell with the score on 52, and when Matty Storey was run out and Adam Nichol clean bowled by Carl Kelly, Ashington were reeling at 66-6.

However, partnerships of 36 with both Jonathan Sadler (13) and Surya Rathore (14) prospered before an attack-minded Williams – looking to better Ashington’s now advanced score of 155 – finally holed out for 66.

His innings included four sixes and four boundaries from 80 balls.

Alnwick’s Graham finished with 6-50 from 11.3 overs.

Ashington pace bowler Craig Wood – who came through a late fitness test – then made a double incision, removing Kelly who was caught in the gully by Gray then trapping left hander Duncan Ayre lbw inside the opening nine overs.

In the 12th, and with the total on 11, Michael Threlfall was caught by Storey off Sadler and the wickets continued to fall.

Opener Michael Brewis and Graham both hit double figures but when they both fell to Sadler the latter on 29-5, David Wright and Robbie Green added 17 before the former was bowled by Rathore for 13.

Skipper Rob Woods partnered Green, adding 15, but after Green was caught behind, Woods and Tom Lakey fell in the same over from spinner Adam Nichol, who then wrapped the game up with the total on 66, having Sam Mavin stumped by Grant from the first ball of the 38th over.

Sadler and Nichol took three wickets apiece with Wood and Rathore claiming two each in a convincing victory.

Ashington’s players all wore black armbands in memory of former players and umpires Mick McLean and Colin Cairns as well as Jack Leslie, a long serving supporter and Lawrence Armstrong a long serving supporter and umpire, all of whom have died during the close season.

Match sponsor: Ian Bell (Kestel Plumbing & Heating Services).

Ashington 20 points; Alnwick 5 points