Ashington CC vice captain Ben O’Brien won’t talk about title

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Ashington Cricket Club’s vice captain Ben O’Brien has followed in the footsteps of skipper Greg Williams by shunning all talk about the Colliers title chances.

O’Brien, deputising again for the unavailable Williams, was ecstatic on Saturday night after his side - who head the division - registered their 12th victory following an 148 runs success over old adversaries Tynedale.

But when news filtered through that defending champions Shotley Bridge had defeated Lanchester - who began the day in second place - the result stretched Ashington’s lead to 48 points.

However, a cautious O’Brien said: “Our aim is to win every game and stay focussed. We have a nice cushion at the top but we need to get our heads down and take each week as it comes.”

Newcastle-born O’Brien lost the toss with his side invited to take first strike: “We started slowly but I thought if we could get to 200, it would be a competitive score,” he added.

“However through the efforts of Ben [Harmison] and Sean [McCafferty], who both batted superbly, to end with 236 was an great bonus. That total represented one of our smallest scores of the campaign when batting first but nevertheless, I was really pleased at the tea interval.” Tynedale’s professional Patrick Matautaava had smashed a cavalier 92 from only 33 balls against Ashington in the semi final of the Tyneside Charity Bowl in midweek - but the stand in skipper emphasised to his outfit that the Hexham based side were certainly not a one-man band: “Obviously after Patrick’s performance on Wednesday, we wanted to get him out early but we knew we genuinely had to bowl well,” said 27 year old O’Brien,

“They had been going along very well with good performances from several of their players including James Rainford and skipper Thomas Cant who hit a century the previous week.

“To get Patrick [Matautaava] in the third over was great but it was a masterstroke in general to post Jack Jessop at short leg as the next ball, he took a superb one handed catch to send back Rainford then he also accounted for Cant.”

He continued: “Callum Storey did well at the start for us then Ani [Singh] was terrific before James Harmison - who had bowled tightly - also got in on the act.”