Ashington still on track for promotion

Ex-Ashington player Paul Straker made 88 but it was not enough in Alnmouth's unsuccessful run chase against his old side. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ex-Ashington player Paul Straker made 88 but it was not enough in Alnmouth's unsuccessful run chase against his old side. Picture by Ian Appleby
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Ashington Cricket Club’s promotion bid continues to gather momentum with a quarter of the campaign remaining.

However, at Langwell Crescent on Saturday the Colliers were forced to dig deep and fight back with visitors Alnmouth & Lesbury appearing to be on course to complete a season’s double – despite chasing 244 to win.

But a shrewd piece of captaincy by home skipper Greg Williams, who took Chris Watson and himself out of the attack and brought back Callum Storey and Sonu Singh resulted in the pendulum swinging back in Ashington’s favour.

However, the bowlers were greatly indebted to some catching of the highest order by Adam Nichol, Dan Grant and in particular Doug Potts as the visitors were finally put to the sword.

Grant and Simon Prudhoe had jointly top scored with 71 apiece, the latter not out, as Ashington rattled up 243-3.

The Colliers were 81 without loss at the half way mark and took 74 from the final ten overs as they smashed their highest score of the season.

An opening stand of 115 inside 31 overs between Grant and Neil Wood gave them a marvellous platform on which to build, and even when the former was caught by Ben Oliver off Andrew McDonnell for 71, Prudhoe and Wood added 54.

Wood was eventually stumped by Tom Vickers for 60 off Paul Straker, but Singh merely supported the adventurous Prudhoe with the pair adding 72.

Prudhoe, who hit a run-a-ball half century in 54 minutes, also found the boundary on six occasions in his knock.

Vickers and Straker then turned what appeared to be an ominous looking task into a reality.

Straker, playing against his former outfit, completed his half century in the 29th over before he lost his partner from the first ball of the 36th.

Singh was reinstalled into the attack and from his first delivery, Vickers, on 69, clipped the ball hard but straight to Nichol at deep cover, who made no mistake.

Callum Batey came in at number three and looked in good form but from the last ball of the 39th, he succumbed to a terrific one handed diving catch behind the stumps by Grant.

Johnny Ridley was then run out and the required rate had escalated to ten when Straker, 12 runs short of a century, smashed a delivery from Singh towards the long-on boundary where it was safely pouched by Potts at 195-5.

Andrew McDonnell was then left shaking his head in disbelief as Potts – fielding in the same position – took off and held a magnificent effort before Alnmouth’s 200 came up in the 47th over.

The rate continued to increase when Oliver, who had moved onto 25, went for the big hit but again found that man Potts.

Callum Storey made one more incision as he removed Thomas Poole in the penultimate over, and as Alnmouth needed 31 from the final six deliveries, Ashington got home by a 27-run margin.

Singh finished with 4-51 from 12 overs and Storey 2-44 from 13 overs.

The Colliers still head the A2 division table and lead second placed Alnwick by 23 points.

Ashington seconds suffered a severe blow to their title aspirations after being bowled out for 61 and consequently losing their B1 division match at Lanchester.

On Saturday, Ashington take on Whickham. The firsts are away with the second XI at home. Match sponsor: Rickards – Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents.