Ashington retain advantage at top after win over Leadgate
Ashington are holding their nerve as they continue to head the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League A1 Division table.
The Colliers, in pole position since the opening day of the season, beat Leadgate at Garden Place on Saturday and still lead the league by 46 points.
Next up for Greg Williams’ outfit is a clash against closest challengers and defending champions Shotley Bridge at Langwell Crescent on Saturday, followed by a trip to seven times champions Swalwell.
Put into bat by Leadgate skipper Ross Burdon, the Colliers were on the ropes on a green and tricky wicket until they were rescued by Ben Harmison.
The tall left hander, who went to the crease with the Colliers on 54-4, grafted superbly for exactly two hours and carried his bat for an unbeaten run-a-ball 80, which included nine boundaries and two sixes.
Sean McCafferty, Williams and Callum Storey initially offered support but in the final analysis, Ashington and Harmison owed much to the stubborn resistance from Paul Rutherford (13 not out) who faced 32 deliveries.
The duo shared a crucial unbroken stand of 61 for the ninth wicket which took their side to a competitive score of 184-8 from 48 overs – the game was shortened by two overs per side after a period of light drizzle.
Ashington had to wait until the 11th over before Callum Storey made the breakthrough, but he was indebted to an outstanding one handed catch behind the stumps by wicketkeeper Daniel Grant to send back Robbie Hockaday for 24.
The game turned when Williams brought Matty Collins into the attack. In his third over, and with the score advanced onto 61, the right armer trapped Callum McCabe lbw then in his next, bowled an identical delivery which accounted for home professional Mohammad Sharif in the same way.
Ashington were ecstatic as only a fortnight earlier, Shaif had smashed an unbeaten 150 in Leadgate’s win over Annfield Plain.
Luke McCabe and Burdon added 25 but in the 32nd left hander Burdon got a fine edge to a ball from spinner Ani Singh with Grant again pouching a brilliant catch.
When Aaron McCabe skied to Williams at cover off Rutherford, it signalled a rapid collapse for the home side.
Storey, returning from the pavilion end, bowled David Richardson and Daniel Gowland in the same over before Rutherford took the final three wickets in ten balls to finish the innings off.
Luke McCabe – who had opened – was caught on the cover boundary by Ben O’Brien; JackThackay was stumped by Grant then Jack Murray fell lbw, Leadgate ending all out for 113 in the 42nd over.
Ashington knew they had to perform well with the ball, and they did just that, on another afternoon where Williams rotated his bowlers well.
Rutherford claimed 4-19 from 9.4 overs; Storey 3-27 from 11; Collins 2-14 from four and Singh 1-20 from nine.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to nearest challengers Shotley Bridge.
Leadgate 5 points
Ashington 20 points