Ashington earn eighth maximum points victory against Ponteland
Sean McCafferty smashed his first hundred for Ashington whilst spinners Ani Singh and Paul Rutherford shared eight wickets as the Colliers racked up their eighth maximum points victory of the season against Ponteland.
After a week of miserable wet weather, this contest began at the scheduled starting time – but after losing the toss, the Wansbeck side were put into bat by opposing skipper Niall Penfold and found the going tough on a testing wicket.
Opening batsmen Neil Wood and Ani Singh fell in consecutive overs by Iftikhar Fazal, the former departing via a good low catch by Thomas Reeman at mid off and Singh being trapped lbw.
Daniel Grant also fell leg before at 48-3 and when Jack Jessop got a leading edge and was pouched by Fazal off
the last ball of the 22 nd over, the score had moved on to 70. Cue an Ashington riposte.
McCafferty and Ben Harmison batted with great caution and application but at the same time grafted and crafted, picking up singles as they rotated the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
When McCafferty completed his fifty in the 35 th over, the score had advanced onto 128 – and the recovery mission continued to flourish.
But in the 43rd, Harmison lofted Andy Denyer and was caught at long off by Stuart Taylor for 46.
McCafferty meanwhile struck a towering six – one of four in his knock along with seven boundaries – as he closed in on a century which duly arrived in the penultimate over, as he pushed a single into the off side. However two balls later, he chopped a delivery from Fazal onto his stumps and in the last over, skipper Greg Williams, who had moved swiftly onto 21 including a series of reverse sweep shots, fell to Penfold, Ashington closing on 234-7.
The home side lost Taylor in the fifth over after he played on to a delivery from Callum Storey – but through the efforts of Jordan Armstrong and Penfold, were going along nicely. However, the pivotal point of their innings arrived in the 14th over as the latter clipped Rutherford through square leg.
The pair set off for a second run but Callum Storey’s accurate throw to Daniel Grant saw the wicketkeeper whip the bails off with Penfold run out for 34 – an innings which included four fours and two sixes.
The dismissal signalled a massive collapse. Singh removed Reeman (to a smart catch at cover by Wood), Ryan Gerrard and Daniel Wright in one over and when Armstrong
(22) fell to a terrific low take at mid on by Harmison, Ponteland had lost four wickets with the score on 68. Fazal, Paul Gerrard (to an outstanding running catch by Ian Sharkey) and Ben Harris also fell in rapid succession and Ashington completed victory from the third ball of the 28th over.
Rutherford accounted for Ashley Parker via an lbw shout leaving the hosts 85 all out.
Rutherford ended with figures of 4-16 from 8.3 overs; Singh 4-28 from nine and Storey 1-21 from five.
Ponteland 3 points; Ashington 20 points.
On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Percy Main.