ONE swallow does not make a summer – and one victory, Ashington’s easy and comfortable win over Newcastle City on Saturday, has certainly not swept the relegation clouds away from Langwell Crescent.
Indeed the result, which already had massive proportions beforehand, suddenly took on unreal importance as nearest rivals Chopwell also collected 20 points at Morpeth, which now leaves the Colliers trailing Lanchester by 19 points.
But Saturday’s result has instilled confidence in the Colliers.
Ironically, Michael Thewlis’ side had narrowly lost to City in a cup clash less than 18 hours beforehand – but the skipper would gladly have sacrificed cup advancement for what was a crucial league victory for his side.
The visitors took first strike but were in all sorts of trouble – at 7-3 and 14-4 – as the Colliers threatened to run through the order in lightning time.
From the last ball of the opening over by Stephen Boyd, Nair was clean bowled, then Surya Rathore struck a timely double.
He removed Mo Ali, the prolific run-scoring machine and City professional, from the first ball of the sixth over via an lbw shout, then next delivery bowled Sonu Singh.
Choundry collected a single from the hat-trick ball but he was next to go in the seventh, bowled middle stump by Boyd.
Bob Brar and Hussain briefly stemmed the tide until Thewlis made a double bowling change, bringing Callum Storey and Graham Whitworth into the attack to replace Boyd and Rathore, and saw the move bring rich dividends.
From Storey’s second delivery, Hussain lofted the ball straight to Martin Thewlis at mid-off, then Simran Singh was bowled by Whitworth at 35-6 in the 14th over.
Brar and Inpathurai held Ashington up with the highest stand of the innings, 27, until the latter, on 20, clipped a delivery from Storey which saw the bowler react instinctively to take a brilliant one handed catch.
Boyd came back to trap Mukhtar leg before at 75-8, then from the final ball of the 33rd, Brar was bowled by Rathore for a hard grafting top score of 33.
Shah and Jassy Singh added 16 for the last wicket before Storey intercepted, bowling the former for six and leaving Singh unbeaten on ten.
City were all out for 97 with Boyd (3-30), Rathore (3-27) and the ever economical Storey (3-9) sharing nine wickets.
In the absence of Scott Thornton and Scott Dunn, home skipper Michael Thewlis promoted himself to open the innings but he fell lbw to Ali from the last ball of the second over.
Jack Jessop and Simon Prudhoe then took control until Jessop (19) clipped a delivery from Brar which was snapped up an inch from the ground at square leg by Choundry.
However, with Prudhoe in dominating form and being well supported by Boyd, the pair took Ashington to victory with an unbroken partnership of 57.
Left hander Prudhoe who struck the winning run, completed a well deserved half century before the close, including six fours and one six from 75 deliveries whilst Boyd ended on 24.
Ashington 20 points
Newcastle City 1 point
n In the cup clash at Gosforth on Friday, Mo Ali hit a top scoring 52 for City in 102-6 from 20 overs with Callum Storey collecting 3-21.
In reply, Jessop (26), Boyd (20) and Grant (20 not out) featured for the Colliers but they finished four runs short of their target.
On Saturday, Ashington travel to Longhirst for the local derby match with Morpeth.