Ashington Cricket Club’s first XI skipper Greg Williams said he is ‘quite happy’ with the progress his side has made on their return to the top flight of the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League.
The Colliers kicked off the second half of the campaign with a convincing eight wickets success over Lanchester on Saturday.
And a delighted Williams said: “If anyone had told me before the season that we would be fifth in the table just after the half way point, I would have been quite happy.
“It’s a good effort from a team who have come up a division and with the exception of a couple of additions it is the same group of lads from last year.
“They are playing well but apart from last week at Shotley Bridge, I don’t think we have been massively beaten in a match – we have always been in with a shout in every clash we have played.
“I know we were shot out at Tynedale, but we were still in the game after the first half.
“We kept a good team down to 150 but then we didn’t bat very well.”
Williams would have batted had he won the toss on Saturday – but was nevertheless pleased with another ‘team display.’
“Before the start, the pitch looked as if it was going to break up but I don’t think it did, to be fair,” he said.
“We got off to a good start – Callum Storey bowled well and took their pro (Jones) out inside the first over with Ben O’Brien taking the catch in the gully.
“We picked up a couple of scalps early doors but then they pulled it back and were looking set until we took wickets at good times with spinners Anirudh Singh and Chris Watson performing well in the middle of the innings.”
He continued: “It was a great spell from Chris (Watson) on his return to the first team whilst Anirudh (Singh) was also in the thick of the action.
“In fact the three spinners, Watson, Singh and myself, only conceded something like 60 runs between us off 30 overs, which was a really top performance.
“Callum (Storey) then mopped up the tail with good, straight, quick bowling at the end, and I was pleased with our effort with the ball.”
Neil Wood and Anirudh Singh ignited Ashington’s charge with the bat.
Williams said: “They got us off to the kind of start which they have been threatening to do for a while with 50 in no time.
“It was all guns blazing with Neil blasting it and Anirudh hitting the ball well, which put pressure on the bowlers as Lanchester changed their attack a few times.
“We were in control and hats off to Anirudh after another quality knock as he hit the ball to all parts of the ground.”
After the sun disappeared, Williams admitted: “The dark clouds on the horizon were on our minds.
“When we had 30-40 on the board the temperature cooled off a little bit, and although the forecast was for us to get a little bit of rain, the clouds blew over without causing any interruption.
“We let Neil Wood and Anirudh Singh play their normal game because they like to score runs, and if the ball is there they like to put it away and play quite positively - which all our top order like to do, to be fair.
“But I’m delighted and all I ask is more of the same for the second half.”