Ashington Cricket Club’s first eleven captain Greg Williams was delighted on two fronts on Saturday.
Williams saw his side notch their first win of the season – a comprehensive result by 110 runs against Alnmouth & Lesbury at Langwell Crescent – and the skipper also gave a glowing tribute to groundsman Mick Brown and his assistant Arnie Gilholm.
The day had started on the wrong foot for Williams who by his own admission regularly fails to win the toss. He did so again on Saturday.
He said: “I always lose the toss. I would have liked us to have had a bowl on that wicket first to be fair but it was a good toss to lose because it’s worked out quite well for us. We got off to a slow start and at 12-2, I was a little bit worried but the lads have pulled things back with Ben O’Brien and Ani Singh taking a bit of pressure off.
“I was over the moon with our total of 240. After the tea interval, we bounced back well after last week’s defeat at Lanchester when I thought we didn’t do ourselves justice with the ball or in the field. Today, the bowlers bowled from the start but when you have are defending a total like 240 in 35 overs, the opposition are under a bit of pressure and when you lose a quick wicket you are up against it straight away.
“Removing Paul Straker in the first over was a massive scalp for us and the pressure was on them but the spinners in our side were good and the seamers stepped up to the mark. It was a good team performance and I was pleased with the display with bat and ball.
“We could quite easily have called the game off at 11am with the way conditions were and with no break in the cloud but we went off the forecast which was spot on and things have worked out perfectly for us.”
Williams took time out to shower undiluted praise on grounds man Mick Brown and his assistant – former Ashington bowler Arnie Gilholm.
He said: “Mick Brown is spending a terrific amount of hours working on the ground which is paying dividends. The wicket had been covered for a day and it’s been one of the best pitches we have played on for years.
“Mick’s dedication is enormous and the whole ground is phenomenal as if it were in the middle of July never mind the end of April.
“Mick started work on the ground at the end of last season and Arnie Gilholm is giving him plenty of help and advice and showing him the ropes. Certainly the square and outfield is in the best condition I’ve seen it for a long time.”
Looking ahead, the skipper added: “We now have back-to-back home games in the league against Annfield Plain then Bedlington and we will be looking to build on today’s display. There are no easy fixtures so we go into every contest as if it were against a leading outfit and I know it’s an old cliché but anyone can beat anyone on there day in this league.”
Meanwhile Matty Storey, who hit a century on the opening day of the campaign for Ashington seconds against Lanchester, was left kicking his heels in frustration after his sides scheduled encounter at Alnmouth & Lesbury in the B1 division was called off.
“I was looking to carry on where I had left off, but there’s nothing you can do about the weather,” he said.