Skipper praises Sharkey's bowling after narrow win for Ashington
Ashington Cricket Club's first XI skipper Greg Williams led his side to their seventh consecutive win on Saturday as they emerged victorious after an absorbing contest against champion Shotley Bridge at the Spa.
But Williams admitted that for one split second, he thought the game had slipped away.
“It was a great game of cricket to be involved in on a lovely wicket and on a great ground,” he said.
“The two sides have done the pitch justice, and whilst their were several turning points, I believe looking back a key one for us was the bowling of Ian Sharkey.
“He was absolutely fantastic with 11 overs and brought us back into it, because if he had gone for runs in that spell it would have been game over for us early doors.
“I thought we had pulled it back when we got Stu Graham out, which was a big wicket, but the wicketkeeper [Ross Andrews] came in and got them right back into the mix with a couple of big sixes.
“I’ve got to admit that at one stage I thought the game had gone for us, but we stuck to our task in the field and took wickets when we desperately needed too.
“We have fielded and bowled better so far this season, but when we had to deliver, we did.
“Apart from Sharkey, Ben Harmison bowled a great spell and Paul Rutherford was hard to get away, he’s difficult to play even on a small ground.
“We always have good games of cricket against Shotley Bridge and today was no exception.
“It went backwards and forwards and I’m over the moon with the result, but on the other side of the coin, these are awful games to lose.”
Williams was happy with his side as they amassed 267-6 from their 50 overs.
“I was quite pleased to lose the toss because the pitch looked good but the outfield was wet, which would have had an impact on the ball,” he said.
“They put us in and when you do that as captain and the opposition hit 267, it’s usually a bit of a blow for you to take, but that wasn’t the case at all as they came at us with all guns blazing and put up a great display with the bat.
“I was pleased with the structure of our innings. We have a good batting line up and set ourselves up with wickets in hand.
“We have top batsmen coming in down the order and the players had free rein to do what they needed to do.
“I was happy with 267, but at one stage we were looking to score more than that.
“Ani [Singh] was class, batting all the way through, whilst Neil Wood got us off to a cracking start until he got a good delivery which led to his dismissal, and Jack Jessop also performed well.
“We were just positive. Ben [Harmison] came in a scored an excellent 40 plus, and in the end we got invaluable runs from Dan Grant, but everyone played their part.”
He added: “The outfield quickened up as it dried out with the sunshine, and on a good wicket you have got to bowl well.
Ben did just that down the bank, but Shotley batted well. They ran well between the wickets and staged their innings just about to perfection, until we had the final say.
“Our team spirit is fantastic and we have to take that into Saturday’s home clash against Swalwell.”