Ashington will face Swalwell and Shotley Bridge - two of the leading trio in the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League – over the next three weeks.
But they will go in against the former outfit (Swalwell) at Derwenthaugh on Saturday with the boost of an 18-point win over Ryton at Langwell Crescent last weekend which brought them their fourth win of the season.
Ryton batted first and found themselves at 21-2.
But rain which had been in the air eventually forced the players off for a delay which lasted just under an hour and led to the game being cut from 50 overs per side to 40.
On resumption, Ryton opener Neil Robinson and Chris Robb began a recovery mission – until both lost their wickets to spinner Paul Rutherford. Robinson had hit 38 and Robb 17 before he went to a superb one-handed catch, caught-and-bowled by the slow left-armer, who showed lightning fast reactions.
It was a key moment in the contest. Ben O’Brien then came on at the top end and, with his fourth ball, bowled David Howarth before a stand of 44 developed between Jordan O’Neill (37) and Ben Perry (25 not out), which saw Ryton progress to 144-6 at the close.
Jack Jessop and Neil Wood gave Ashington a good platform with 47 on the board but in the 10th over, the latter fell to surely the cruellest dismissal in cricket. Jessop smacked a delivery from Robb back towards the bowler, whose hand deflected the ball onto the stumps and Wood was run out for 26.
Jessop (34) and Michael Levison continued the chase but from the last ball of the 18th, the former lofted a ball from Ghumman and was caught by Patrick Fordham.
McCafferty then played a swashbuckling innings of 40, which included five fours and the only six hit of the day before he was stumped by Clarke off Ghumman. Levison (26 not out) and O’Brien (8 not out) took Ashington home from the third ball of the 32nd over.
Ashington 18 points; Ryton 3 points.