Shotley Bridge 174 all out
Ashington 110 all out
Slow bowler Kieran Milburn took a magnificent seven-wicket haul for Shotley Bridge at Langwell Crescent on Saturday, to leave Ashington in a real spin with the hosts crashing to defeat by a 64-run margin.
Third-placed Shotley led the Colliers by five points before play and the result now means that the Wansbeck side will finish the campaign in fourth spot.
It was ironic that Milburn came up trumps for the Bridge on a day where Ashington’s right arm off spinner Ben O’Brien claimed his best-ever bowling figures of 6-34 as Shotley were dismissed for 174.
Home skipper Sean McCafferty said afterwards that the fragility in the batting line-up had yet again been evident. Ashington were 80-1 in reply but then collapsed dramatically to finish 110 all out.
The Mighty Acorns suffered a blow with the withdrawal of their talismanic all-rounder Ben Harmison, who signed for EvoStik League Premier Division outfit South Shields 24 hours before Saturday’s 12.30pm start.
Shotley lost Ross Burdon early on and after Milburn had also departed, Paul Greenwell and Mick Allen gave them a good platform. However, slow bowler O’Brien came on for the 30th over and struck immediately to remove the latter for 19. It was the start of a dream spell for the right-armer, who ripped out the middle order with the visitors sliding from 130-3 to 174 all out.
For Ashington, Dan Grant was caught behind by wicketkeeper Ross Andrews in the 11th over but Jack Jessop (43) and Jack McCarthy (40) were both going along well until the partnership was broken.
This sparked a dramatic collapse with Ashington losing their next eight wickets for 28 runs. Milburn ended with the glowing figures of 7-15 from 93 overs.