Ashington bounced back from the previous week’s defeat to Swalwell in fine style on Saturday with a thrilling two-wicket win over fellow title challengers Shotley Bridge at The Spa.
The result, which sealed a season’s double for the Colliers over the County Durham outfit, sees Greg Williams side remain hot on the heels of Swalwell who remain in pole position with five games of the season remaining.
Callum Storey made an early incision when the home side took first knock, removing Brown for five in his second over.
But on a batting track, Shotley dominated through a second wicket stand of 88 between skipper Peter Collingwood and Paul Greenwell.
However, the introduction of Paul Rutherford for the 26th over at 93-1 to bowl in tandem with Anirudh Singh dramatically changed the complexion of the game as Rutherford had Greenwell caught by Ben O’Brien from his second delivery.
Collingwood was caught by Stephen Boyd off Singh for 48 and the dismissal of Stuart Graham in the 35th over signalled a flurry of wickets with the home side tumbling to 146-7.
Kieran Milburn and Stefan Dabrowski consolidated with a stand of 28 but after Grant had effected another run out to send back the latter, Boyd mopped up the tail, taking the wickets of Gibson and Angus inside three balls.
Shotley finished on 175 with Rutherford returning 3-48 from 11 overs; Boyd 2-22; Storey 2-33 and Singh 1-23 from 12.
Ashington’s reply followed a similar pattern to their hosts with Neil Wood run out by Gibson in the second over.
Singh and Jack Jessop figured in a partnership of 53 for the second wicket until the former, who had passed through 1,000 league runs for the season, was caught behind by Andrew off Carlin for 37.
Jessop and O’Brien kept Ashington on course, the duo adding 43 until Shotley hit back removing Jessop, Williams and Grant in rapid succession.
Matty Storey partnered the hard hitting O’Brien before he became the fourth run out of the game with 33 required.
With 15 overs remaining, Ashington had plenty of time but the game turned into a nervous finale as with consecutive deliveries, Gibson removed Boyd lbw then pegged back Rutherford’s leg stump.
The cool head of O’Brien relieved the pressure in Greenwell’s first over as he hit him for a six over long on and next ball stroked a glorious cover drive to the ropes.
O’Brien, who struck six fours and two sixes as he recorded his fifth half century of the campaign, brought the scores level then he clipped the winning run from the first ball of the 44th over.
On Saturday, Ashington host Ponteland.
Shotley Bridge 8 points
Ashington 20 points