Ashington enjoy 20 points maximum victory over Benwell & Walbottle

Ben Harmison
Ben Harmison

Ashington began the second half of the campaign in identical fashion to how they kicked off the season - with a 20 points maximum victory over Benwell & Walbottle.

The result saw the Acorns remain unbeaten as they recorded their 11th win of the term but on a slow wicket at the Walbottle Campus, after they had shot out the hosts for 81, Greg Williams’s side were forced to work hard with the bat before earning the result in 24 overs.

However, if there was one shred of consolation in the reverse for B & W, it came in the field where Michael Birrell pocketed an outstanding catch which will rightly be regarded as one of the claims of the season.

After winning the toss and asking the opposition to take first strike, Williams must have been delighted with the early progress as the Colliers had the home side reeling at 8-3 in the ninth over.

Pace ace Ben Harmison struck with the fifth call of his first over to trap David Anderson leg before then he bowled Chris Bell for four.

Williams introduced Ani Singh for the ninth and with his third delivery, the right armer accounted for James Carr lbw.

Hassan Raza and Birrell staged a recovery but in the 21st after the pair had added 49, Singh intervened again.

He had another lbw shout answered in the affirmative to send back Birrell then four balls later, bowled Adam Richardson at 59-5.

And it just got better for the spinner as in the 34th, he claimed another double.

Raza, on 42 out of a total of 76, skied the ball which was safely taken off his own bowling by Singh and two balls later, Haque danced down the track and was stumped by wicketkeeper Daniel Grant.

Ashington quickly polished off the tail.

The pacy Harmison bowled Stephen Reed and Malcolm Brown in consecutive overs then left arm spinner Paul Rutherford continued the trend with the second ball of the 37th over to remove Ian Pratt.

Singh ended with 5-25 from 12 overs whilst Harmison’s figures made glowing reading - four wickets for three runs from nine overs, six of which were maidens.

With grey skies skirting the ground, Neil Wood and Ani Singh made a positive start for their side with 32 from eight overs - until the stand was broken in the ninth.

Singh (17) lofted Raza into the deep where Birrell, running from long off to long on, held on to take a stunning catch. Four overs later, Daniel Grant - promoted up the order - was bowled by Raza for three then the Benwell man got his third wicket when he had Wood caught at point for a top scoring 21. But Ashington claimed a seasons double over the basement side as Jack Jessop (16 not out) and Ben O’Brien (18 not out) figured in an unbroken stand of 31 for the fourth wicket to take their side to victory.

With Lanchester and Shotley Bridge also picking up full points, there was no change at the top of the division with Ashington still holding a lead of 39 points.

Cup result: Smithson Cup quarter final: Ashington 170-4 (Ben Harmison 81 not out, Ani Singh 42); Morpeth 102-7 (Sam Flett 45, Singh 3-17).

Benwell & Walbottle 1 point; Ashington 20 points

On Saturday Ashington are at home to Tynedale