ASHINGTON’S reach for the sky turned into a fall from grace as they nosedived to their first league defeat of the season against Ponteland at the Leisure Centre complex.
The ground – within close proximity of Newcastle International Airport – saw the second from top Colliers face mid-table Ponteland but after being brought down to earth with a bump by the home side, Ponteland took flight and leapfrogged over their Wansbeck visitors.
After a quiet opening, which only saw nine runs from as many overs, Wayne Ritzema then took centre stage to dominate proceedings.
He punished anything loose with straight drives being a feature and at the half way mark, had just completed his half century which included seven fours and two sixes out of a total of 69.
Ashington were relieved to make the breakthrough even though it came in fortuitous circumstances when a shot from James Ritzema deflected off bowler Jonathan Sadler and looped up to Martin Sexton at mid off.
Then after drinks, the Colliers took the prize wicket of Wayne Ritzema when he struck a powerful drive off Callum Storey which was well caught at mid off by James Richards.
However, Hitchcock (41) and Taylor (26) added 61 for the third wicket until James Harmison bowled both inside three of his seven overs.
An unbroken stand of 39 between Seymour (27 not out) and Lindsay (23 not out) took Ponteland to 195-4 at the end of their 50 overs.
Jonathan Sadler bowled 15 consecutive overs and deserved better than his 1-41.
Ashington’s reply was astonishing as by the first ball of the fifth over, they had disintegrated and were looking on in disbelief at a scoreboard which showed 17-4.
Sexton edged a regulation nick behind to Daniel Wright; Neil Wood smacked two boundaries but then hit a skier which was well pouched by Seymour at mid on before Daniel Grant and Simon Prudhoe both succumbed to catches in the gully and extra cover respectively with the fielders not having to move an inch.
Skipper Greg Williams and Adam Nichol dug in adding 28 but ex-Ashington medium pacer Mark Turnbull had the former lbw and Nichol (26) caught by Fazal in the 21st over.
James Harmison showed great application coming in at number seven to hit a top scoring 29 in 81 minutes.
He lost partners Sadler and Craig Wood before he was the ninth wicket to go down, caught at long on, and shortly afterwards the innings was finished off with Storey bowled by Smart.
So a reality check for the Colliers with a dismal and disappointing reverse – with Williams hoping that his outfit can prepare to take off for a second time this weekend when they are at home to Seaton Burn.
Ponteland 20 points Ashington 3 points