Ashington maintain title challenge with win over Percy Main

Ashington CC batsman Ben O'Brien on his way to scoring his first century for Ashington in their win over Percy Main CC. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington CC batsman Ben O'Brien on his way to scoring his first century for Ashington in their win over Percy Main CC. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ben O’Brien smashed his maiden century for Ashington against Percy Main at a windswept Langwell Crescent ground on Saturday.

The tall right hander, in partnership with Jack Jessop, galvanized the home side’s innings which had not gone according to plan after skipper Greg Williams won the toss and elected to bat.

Conditions were far from pleasant with the blustery wind proving troublesome.

And Ashington were hit by a severe gust from their visitors to be in early peril at 24-2.

From the fifth ball of the opening over, Neil Wood was bowled leg stump by Andrew Green, then in the sixth, a pearler of a delivery from Barry Stewart sent Anirudh Singh’s off-stump cart wheeling out of the ground.

O’Brien joined Jessop and the duo, after cautiously setting about a rebuilding exercise, threatened to put the game beyond the Villagers’ reach such was there dominance.

O’Brien overtook Jessop in the runs chase to complete his fifth half century of the campaign in the 24th over before a fruitful stand of 105 came to a shuddering and unexpected halt.

Jessop, who had batted well and advanced onto 47, danced down the wicket to left arm spinner Jonathon Prested and was bowled leg stump.

Daniel Grant looked to support O’Brien but he succumbed in the 34th for 14, returning a catch to Anderson.

The exuberant Matty Storey, as ever lightning quick between the wickets, was the perfect foil for O’Brien, who controlled his innings with purpose whilst severely punishing anything pitched short.

And after Prested had bowled Storey at 201-5, O’Brien’s hour of glory arrived in the 43rd over as he completed a glowing century with a single.

But looking to boost the total further, he was stumped by wicketkeeper Andrew Smith three overs later for a magnificent 110 from 121 balls, which included seven fours and six sixes.

Ashington were all out in the final over for 240, Prested taking 4-54, Stewart 3-31 and Green 2-48.

Percy Main began in positive fashion but Callum Storey blunted their hopes as he removed skipper Stewart and Reid inside four balls in the seventh over, then Anderson (29) followed, another victim who had his stumps rearranged by the tall pace merchant.

The introduction of spinners Singh and Paul Rutherford kept the visitors in check and wickets continued to fall.

Ashington were then left frustrated as the dark clouds brought sweeping rain and it appeared as if the weather would foil their victory hopes.

But after three enforced interruptions they completed a maximum points win from the last ball of the 41st over.

Rutherford took 3-39 including the final wicket where he had Armstrong stumped by Grant, whilst Singh’s three-wicket haul for 28 featured a fine caught and bowled to dismiss Boyd.

Matty Storey also got in on the act, taking 1-1 from two overs, with the victory consolidating the Wansbeck outfit’s third from top placing in the A1 division, 20 points behind leaders Swalwell.

Ashington 20 points

Percy Main 7 points

Ashington recorded two wins in midweek cup ties. League Cup: Ashington 141-4 (Grant 44 not out, Williams 30 not out, Singh 30), Bedlington 85-7 (McCafferty 17, Barnett 16, C Wood 2-7).

Tyneside Charity Bowl: Backworth 115-7 (Bajaj 28 not out, C Wood 2-6), Ashington 118-1 (Singh 67 not out, Jessop 31 not out).

On Saturday, Ashington are away to Tynedale. Match sponsor Stuart McLeod (Rickards, Estate Agents).