Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League Leaders Ashington go into Saturday’s top of the table clash against nearest rivals Lanchester at Ashley Park
holding a 26-points cushion.
The Colliers picked up 16 points after a five wickets victory over Percy Main last weekend whilst Lanchester collected five after going down to a defeat at Newcastle City.
And for the second successive week, it was Sean McCafferty and Ben Harmison who played major roles in the Colliers success.
The previous week the pair put on 118 for the fifth wicket which led to the win over Ponteland – and on
Saturday, with their outfit in a spot of bother, they added a match winning 102 in only 47 minutes.
McCafferty – who is in his first season at Langwell Crescent after joining from Bedlington and who smashed his maiden century for the club at Ponteland – struck the winning runs against the Villagers with a straight six into the trees over long on which brought up his half century.
He finished unbeaten on 54 from only 36 deliveries and included two fours and three sixes in his innings.
Ashington-born McCafferty has now scored 244 league runs to date this term and has an average of 81.33 - but the right hander categorically insisted afterwards that victory for his team was the priority ahead of a personal achievement.
“It’s nice to be in good form but it’s the win which matters most today,” he said, “I’d rather Ben [Harmison] had finished the game off because in the grand scheme of things, fifties are nothing.
“I wanted to win as quickly as possible and would have been more than happy to end unbeaten on 48.
Ben and myself said we needed to play proper cricket and to run hard between the wickets and we would get
home – and that’s what we did.”
The 25-year-old McCafferty has settled in ‘very quickly’:
“It was hard going at Bedlington last year where I was captain with things not quite clicking for the team,” he added, “Although they were relegated, I still think the team, finished in a false position - but the side at Ashington is something else.
“The talent which is in all three departments - batting, bowling and fielding - is absolute class.
“I knew a lot of the lads already which helped me to settle in very quickly and with my mate Ben [Harmison] arriving at the same time, it has been an easy transition to make.
I’m enjoying it and with just over half of the season to go, long may it continue. I batted at number three at Bedlington but I’m more than happy to go in at whatever number the captain asks me.
“I felt I timed the ball well today and that is credit to Mick Brown, our groundsman, and to the lads who got the game on today.
“The track was fantastic and it’s always nice when you are playing on a good wicket.”
Meanwhile, Harmison, who was also born in Ashington, and who ended with 53 from only 37 balls said: “I’m really happy. I haven’t really practiced much over the past couple of weeks but hopefully my experience has come through where we have been in a little bit of a hole lately.
“The secret for us was not to panic. A couple of big overs in a runs chase brings you back into it and as a result puts the pressure back on the bowling team.
“It’s good batting with Sean [McCafferty] because he is quick between the wickets and it takes the pressure off hitting boundaries when you turn ones into twos, and twos into threes.
“Not only that but Sean is batting brilliantly at the minute.
As they prepare to go head to head with Lanchester, 30 year old Harmison believes there is still more to come from the Colliers.
“I don’t think supporters have seen the best of us yet because I don’t think everyone is firing or on top
form” he added,
“Having said that, we have only dropped four points all season and before the start of the campaign we would have settled for that.
We have a brilliant team spirit in the camp – the best I’ve seen for a while - and we just want to bring some
happiness to the people who run the club as well as for ourselves.”