Ashington dig deep to finish title winning season unbeaten
Already crowned champions, Ashington Cricket Club's first XI etched another mark on an outstanding season for the club on Saturday as a six-wicket win over Lanchester saw them go through the entire league programme unbeaten.
However, the Colliers were forced to dig deep before grinding out their 19th success of the campaign.
After bowling Lanchester out for 117, the Wansbeck outfit were in trouble at 30-4 until Jack Jessop and Ben Harmison forged a brilliant unbroken partnership of 88 to finish the season off in style.
The start was delayed half an hour due to the heavy rain during the early hours of Friday.
Home skipper Greg Williams won the toss and after having no hesitation in putting Lanchester into bat, must have been delighted as in the fifth over right arm pace man Callum Storey pegged back Michael Small’s off stump.
After a slow start, the Durham-based outfit upped the tempo in excess of three runs an over and were in a good position at 59-1 after 15 overs.
But that all changed as in his third over from the Ashbourne Crescent end, Matty Collins took only the second hat-trick of his career.
He had Graham Brinton caught by Williams then bowled Ken Taylor leg stump. Williams re-enforced the slip cordon for the hat-trick ball and it paid dividends as Lanchester skipper Stuart McPhail edged to James Harmison at third slip.
Incredibly Collins could have made it four in four as his next delivery hit Reynolds on the toe but lbw appeals were turned down by the umpire.
With the score on 84, left arm spinner Paul Rutherford came on for James Harmison, and with his third ball tempted Dan Nicotra down the track. The Lanchester professional had hit three fours and three sixes in 53 but he was on his way back after he completely missed the ball and was stumped by wicketkeeper Daniel Grant.
The visitors never recovered and lost their last five wickets for 33 runs as Ani Singh also got in the act, claiming three wickets, whilst Rutherford took his tally to three, finishing the innings off with a caught and bowled to dismiss Selby.
Nicotra pocketed a good catch at first slip to send back Singh in the third over of Ashington’s reply and the Colliers were forced into a careful watch scenario as Lanchester’s bowlers gave little away.
The home side had only advanced the score to 22 in 13 overs when they found themselves up against it as they lost three wickets inside five overs.
Neil Wood played on and was bowled leg stump by Arran Halliday, Nicotra trapped Ben O’Brien lbw whilst Grant, who edged Taylor, saw wicketkeeper Reynolds spill the offering but palm the ball to Nicotra at slip.
However Ashington found the winning combination through Jessop and Harmison, who both ended unbeaten on 43.
The former battled through superbly for almost two hours with the steadying influence of Harmison for just over an hour as they led their side to a momentous achievement.
The club then partied well into the night and after a quite sensational season.
Match Sponsor: Brian Shotton Dairies Ltd.
Ashington 20 points
Lanchester 3 points