Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for Mighty Acorns
NE PREMIER LEAGUE DIV1Ashington 257-7 declared; Willington 260-8(Willington won by 2 wkts)A glorious day of sunshine; a nice setting and a ground looking in pristine condition. Oh and just for good measure throw in over 500 runs scored which contributed to a gripping and brilliant game of cricket between Willington and Ashington – two top sides in Division 1 of the North East Premier League.
The fact that the home outfit won the game with two deliveries remaining of a 105 overs contest summed things up perfectly - but in the final analysis whilst it was joy for Willington it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Mighty Acorns.
The visitors were asked to bat first and Jack Jessop and Adam Nichol set the tone with an excellent start for the visitors with an opening stand of 35 until the latter fell lbw in the seventh over.
Jessop and Scott Pearcey kept the scoreboard ticking over but Ashington had to consolidate after both fell in quick succession. Jessop – after hitting an unbeaten century the previous week - batted with the same confidence but received a ball from left arm spinner Steven Alderson which kept low and with the batsman pinned back in his crease, it was no surprise when the umpire gave him out lbw for 43.
Pearcey (22) clipped to mid wicket two overs later but Ben Harmison again shone for the visitors with his timing a feature during a controlled innings where he played some well placed shots and some straight drives over the ropes. Jack McCarthy settled in with Harmison and the pair had added 60 when the former – on 29 - spooned to Alderson at mid off from the last ball of the 33rd over.
Ben Harmison reached his half century in the 40th and Ashington’s 200 came up in the 43rd but as they looked to score runs quickly, Ben Harmison skied a delivery from Pete Bhabra and was well pouched at mid off by Jake Louth for 69.
Skipper Sean McCafferty and James Harmison (36) fell in consecutive overs and then following a lovely shot through extra cover by Ian Sharkey, McCafferty declared on 252-7 after 51 overs.
In reply, Willington openers Bhabra and Jamie Dass never looked in any trouble as they got their side off to a cracking start and it was the 14th over with the score on 66 when Ashington got the much-needed breakthrough, Bhabra run out for 34.
Two overs later, Ian Sharkey had Dass caught behind by McCarthy for 29 but Willington continued to go along at five runs an over.
Ben Harmison, Matty Collins and Bob Rutherford all struck to take wickets as Ashington started to make inroads with the ball.
Willington wanted 71 from 13 overs with four wickets left and whittled the target down to 24 from six overs and 11 from four – and the tension went up another notch when Nichol held on magnificently at short extra cover to a stinging drive from Alderson off Ben Harmison.
Eventually Willington wanted four to win from the final over bowled by Skinner. Two runs came from the first delivery followed by two dot balls before Lachlan Marron’s pull shot to the ropes clinched the game for the Durham side.