Ashington Cricket Club’s first XI were celebrating on Saturday after a magnificent performance and victory over Shotley Bridge clinched them runners-up spot in the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League.
It was back in 2001 – a year after the inception of the league – when the Colliers last won the championship and, in reality, they came close to bridging the gap as they only finished 14 points adrift of eventual winners Tynedale.
But what a season for Greg Williams and his squad as they boasted an unbeaten home record on their return to the top flight.
And what a campaign for overseas starlet Anirudh Singh as well as right arm pace merchant Callum Storey.
Singh broke through the 1,000 runs for the season barrier whilst Storey racked up 44 league wickets including two six wicket hauls – the latter which came at Langwell Crescent on Saturday.
Shotley arrived in the knowledge that if leaders Tynedale were to slip up and take anything less than seven points then a maximum defeat over Ashington would win them the championship crown.
And after being put into bat, they made a solid start on a wet wicket with 26 on the board inside seven overs.
But then in dramatic fashion, once Peter Finch had broken the opening partnership for the home side having Phil Brown caught by Singh for 21, the capitulation followed.
The championship chasers teetered to 61-8 inside 16 overs. Storey, who bowled unchanged, sent down 12 overs and reaped rich dividends with brilliant figures of 6-34 whilst Finch – who also accounted for danger man Stuart Graham trapping him lbw for nought – ended with 2-32 from an 11 overs stint.
Kieron Milburn and Phil Mellons put up a fight with a stand of 41 for the ninth wicket before home skipper Williams had the latter caught by Jack Jessop for 11, and ten runs later with the score advanced onto 112, last man Jay Gibson was run out for three.
Shotley were bowled out for 112 with Milburn unbeaten on a hard grafting 45.
In reply, Singh was the inspiration behind Ashington’s success.
His concentration levels were immense as he blasted his way to an unbeaten 73, which was spiced with seven fours and four sixes from 113 deliveries.
However, the visitors were always in with a shout as they claimed the scalps of Neil Wood, Jack Jessop, Ben O’Brien, Greg Williams and Michael Levison cheaply before Singh found a solid partner in Daniel Grant.
The pair came together at 76-5 when the Colliers still required another 37 runs for victory – and some vintage strokes saw them lead their side home.
Grant clipped four boundaries in an unbeaten 16 whilst Singh finished the game off in style with an on drive over mid-on.
Ashington 20 points
Shotley Bridge 3 points
Match sponsor: Andrew Warnes, Riverside Rothbury Caravan Park.