Six wicket win for Ashington
Skipper Ben Harmison and left arm spinner Paul Rutherford took four wickets each as Ashington made it back to back wins with victory over Newcastle City at the Broadway West ground on Saturday.
The venue at Gosforth was bathed in glorious sunshine - and the home outfit found Harmison and Rutherford too hot to handle as they were all out for 121 in 36.1 overs.
Also included in the afternoon session was surely one of the best catches ever seen in local cricket with Sean McCafferty diving full stretch to his left to take an outstanding one handed effort at backward point to dismiss Bilal Ahmed.
Harmison lost the toss and fielded – but they quickly made incisions to leave City reeling on 6-2 and 24-3.
Harmison made the breakthrough as early as the second over having Shahid Khan caught behind by wicketkeeper Dan Grant then in the next over, Usman Mukhtar hit the ball straight into the direction of Matty Potts, set off for a single and with his fellow batsman Kumar remaining rooted to the spot,
Mukhtar was run out with Potts coolly holding onto the ball then running in to break the wicket. It was just the start Ashington were looking for and things got even better when Harmison struck again to remove Palav Kumar in the tenth over.
After the batsman had edged, McCafferty – goalkeeper for Ebac Northern League first division outfit North Shields – brilliantly palmed the ball up into the air at slip for team mate Ben O’Brien to complete the catch.
Zohaib Khan (26) and Omar Ahmed struck back for City with a 32 runs partnership before Matty Collins had the former caught behind by Grant for 26. Harmison continued to shuffle his bowling attack but the introduction of Paul Rutherford for the 26th over proved to be a masterstroke. The left armer struck with only his second delivery – Omar Ahmed (28) falling lbw as he tried to sweep – and Rutherford continued in the same vein as he went on to claim a wicket in each of his next three overs as City - 90-4 - fell away to 104-9.
Harmison then returned from the road end and with his first delivery, had Joy Saini caught by Rutherford at cover with the hosts dismissed for 121. Harmison took 4-13 from 9.1 overs and Rutherford 4-8 from six.
Ashington’s reply was going along nicely with Jack Jessop and Dan Grant looking untroubled – until spin twins Zohaib Khan and Omar Ahmed came into the attack. With the score on 43, Grant was caught by Kumar off Khan for 19 then Jessop followed shortly afterwards stumped by Sandeep Padmalaya off Ahmed for 22.
When Matty Storey was bowled by Ahmed, the visitors had lost three wickets for 16 runs but Ben O’Brien (20 not out), Sean McCafferty (17) and Ben Harmison (25 not out) steadied the ship to see Ashington home from the second ball of the 30th over.
*On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Stocksfield.