ON Saturday Ashington were beaten by Backworth and the defeat has almost certainly ended their promotion hopes with only two games left.
Backworth professional Anirudh Singh was instrumental in his side’s success – smashing a superb century then claiming a nap hand in the bowling stakes as well as affecting a run out.
But after seeing his side become bogged down in mid-innings, Ashington skipper Greg Williams launched a blistering assault which unfortunately came too late with his outfit going down by nine runs.
The home team had made a good start with Callum Storey having Alan Robson caught behind by Daniel Grant in the fifth over, with fellow opener Mark Minto following in identical fashion off the bowling of James Richards in the 18th.
When Michael Thewlis removed Clarke, Backworth were 52-3 – but Singh and Ahmed swung the game back in their side’s favour with a partnership of 122. Left hander Singh hit nine sixes.
Singh’s century came from 130 balls before he holed out to Andrew Gray for 109.
Ahmed meanwhile finished unbeaten with 50 to his name.
Richards ended with 2-55; Storey 1-34; Thewlis 1-38 and Whitworth 0-62.
Ashington lost Neil Wood in the sixth over for 13, but even after losing Andrew Gray for 43 in the 25th, the Colliers were still well positioned at the halfway mark – until they became bogged down by the economical Singh and Ahmed.
The former, who had claimed the first two wickets, then made it a straight nap hand, adding Adam Nichol, Scott Dunn and Daniel Grant to his list with the home side plummeting to 83-5.
And it was Singh who ended a 49-run stand between Williams and Thewlis with a direct throw at the stumps, running the latter out.
With the asking rate increasing all the time, Williams decided it was time to launch his own tirade, which made for an exciting finale.
He took 19 from Singh’s final over and smashed five sixes in 55, but in the penultimate over he was stumped by Alan Robson off Joy Saini, which brought the curtain down on his side’s hopes.
Thewlis scored 23 and Martin Sexton 11 as the Colliers closed on 186-9 – ten runs short of victory.
Singh finished with 5-52; Saini 2-31 and Chris Dunlop 1-25 from four.
Ashington 6 points
Backworth 19 points
On Saturday, Ashington are at home to league leaders Ryton.