Ashington edge closer to title after tight win over Swalwell

Ashington's Dan Grant on his way to a knock of 66. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington's Dan Grant on his way to a knock of 66. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington edged a step closer to the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League title after a pulsating last over win against Swalwell at Derwenthaugh on Saturday.

But not for the first time this season the Colliers had to dig deep before sealing the result against the seven times former champions.

The hosts, who won the toss and elected to bat, got off to a terrific start with 86 on the board without loss.

It was shortly before the half way stage when the Mighty Acorns made the long awaited breakthough with Chris Hewison caught on the boundary by Ben O’Brien off spinner Paul Rutherford for 39.

Two further wickets fell in quick succession, both involving wicketkeeper Daniel Grant.

He made a stunning one handed catch off Callum Storey to send back Lloyd Anderson for seven, then with the score on 106, he took an offering from John Meadows, also off the paceman.

After Lee Whitfield and James Welch had fallen to Rutherford and Ani Singh respectively, a 41-run stand developed between Stephen Smith and Mark Gray.

But when Ben Harmison struck in the 47th over to remove the latter for 30 it sparked a late flurry of wickets as Swalwell lost their last five batsmen for only nine runs and were all out in the final over for 193.

Singh led the way, taking 3-38 with Harmison (2-40), Rutherford (2-42) and Storey (2-51) sharing six wickets.

Ashington made a woeful start to their reply, losing Neil Wood and Jack Jessop in successive overs to Guy Saxton and Smith respectively, but Singh and Grant got their side back on track with a splendid partnership of 110.

The pair both completed half centuries before Singh edged behind and was caught by wicketkeeper Anderson for 56.

Grant, who hit eight boundaries in 66, fell in unfortunate circumstances in the 41st with 140 on the board. He took a pace down the track to spinner Nicky Phillips, hit the ball against his boot which spun back to Anderson who quickly whipped the bails off with Grant out of his ground.

When Richard Shotton bowled O’Brien off stump in the next, Ashington were 146-5 and required to score at the rate of a run a ball.

Harmison showed all of his experience as he kept a cool head, and along with Sean McCafferty, the duo kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Then on 167 and with 27 required from four overs, Saxton bowled McCafferty to put the game firmly back into the melting pot.

But in the gathering gloom as the dark clouds hovered menacingly over the ground, Harmison (31 not out) and Greg Williams (13 not out) successfully chased down the 16 runs needed from the final two overs in the nick of time.

Ten runs came from the 49th then Harmison followed a boundary with a single to level the scores and next ball Williams smashed a four on the leg side which clinched a memorable victory.

Within minutes of the players leaving the field, rain began to fall, only Ashington were already celebrating their 17th success of the campaign.

On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Ponteland.

Swalwell seven points

Ashington 20 points