Matty Collins produced a devastating spell of pace bowling on Saturday in Ashington’s victory over Swalwell by 65 runs as they dismissed the pacesetters for 81 at Langwell Crescent.
Collins took his tally of league scalps for the season to 30 after reserving his best performance of the campaign against the Derwenthaugh outfit, who despite the setback remain in pole position 23 points ahead of nearest challengers Shotley Bridge with four games left.
Now the scene is set for a titanic contest on Saturday when the two sides face each other at The Spa [Shotley Bridge’s ground].
With Tynedale’s match at Newcastle City rained off, Ashington’s super win lifted them up one place into third spot.
Collins meanwhile diluted his dynamic performance with the ball, where he removed five of the top six in the batting order, and hailed the 20 pointer as a ‘team effort’.
The 20-year-old said: “I was pleased. It was tough for us missing the likes of Ben and James Harmison. Ben always tells us to take responsibility for our own game and that is something which I have really tried to take on board and get the job done rather than rely on other people.
“However I thought everybody in our side was class.
“Callum Storey bowled really well but didn’t get as many wickets as he deserved, and our victory was centred around an all round team effort.”
Ashington-born Collins added: “We were positive going into the field. Ben O’Brien was exceptional with the bat in our innings then supporting roles from the likes of Matty Storey and Jack Jessop, which don’t usually get mentioned, gave us a boost.
“When you have got runs on the board it increases your confidence, and it’s always good to try and beat the leaders.
“We won the title ourselves last year and maybe this time round haven’t done as well as we could or should have.”
Collins has one four-wicket haul to his name this term as well as taking three wickets on four other occasions, but he topped that on Saturday with 5-26 from seven overs.
He is rapidly approaching the target he set himself before the start of the season, although he stressed that it’s all about ‘the team’.
“I went across to South Africa in the winter and when I came back set myself a target of 35 wickets,” he said.
“I’ve now got 30 so I’m delighted. However, it’s not about individuals. We want to finish as high up the table as we can, that’s our goal as a team and that’s all that matters.”