Ashington cricketers fall short of ‘complete performance’
NE PREMIER LEAGUE DIV 1:Blaydon 239-5;Ashington 178-6(match drawn)On the eve of their away clash against Blaydon on Saturday, Ashington skipper Sean McCafferty challenged his side to produce the ‘complete performance’ – but the Mighty Acorns fell short by a considerable margin, writes Brian Bennett.
In all three departments - bowling, fielding and batting – Ashington were below par yet for all that, they dug in quite comfortably to secure a losing draw with McCafferty top scoring with what in the main was a belligerent unbeaten 67.
Cameron Skinner made the first incision in the fourth over, when he had Liam Clarke caught low down by Bob Rutherford at first slip with the score on three. But Paul Underwood and Geoff Stewart kept the scoreboard ticking over with a partnership which went from strength to strength.
In the 32nd over and with the score advanced onto 109, Underwood and Stewart reached their respective half centuries in consecutive deliveries before the breakthrough came with Ben Harmison taking a diving catch off James Harmison’s bowling to send back Stewart for 64.
Ross Nicholson went for 17, but with 171 on the board, it was the perfect scenario for Joseph Reynolds to play a carefree innings which inflicted further pain on the visitors.
Underwood - now on 91 - nicked behind to McCarthy in the 52nd but Reynolds’s cameo 23 ball knock saw him hit five boundaries and one maximum before he was bowled by Collins from the penultimate ball of the session, Blaydon ending on 239-5 from their 55 overs.
Ashington lost the early wickets of Adam Nichol and Scott Pearcey and were 86-4 with the loss of Jack Jessop and Ben Harmison.
Phillip Miller accounted for James Harmison and in the 37th when Jack McCarthy - who again showed promise - was trapped leg before for 25 Ashington were 122-6.
The visitors could only play out for a draw and skipper McCafferty – partnered by Skinner - played a perfect dual innings. McCafferty hit eight boundaries and four sixes in a superb unbeaten 67, and off the second last ball of the innings, he played a contender for the shot of the day after creaming a drive through mid on to the ropes as his side finished on 178-6.