Losing draw as Ashington cricketers dig deep in rain-hit game

NE PREMIER LEAGUE DIV 1:Newcastle 235-2 declared; Ashington 129-3The rain threatened to scupper this North East Premier League Division 1 clash until with time running out, the sultry conditions and the odd glimpse of sunshine led to a resumption in play and Newcastle going on to claim a winning draw, writes Brian Bennett.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:48 am
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:48 am
Adam Nichol.
Adam Nichol.

However, the Mighty Acorns who finished on 129 -3 - more than 100 runs adrift - dug deep and gave a disciplined batting performance to stave off the threat of a total loss.

Consequently Sean McCafferty’s side emerged with huge credit and none more so than Adam Nichol who batted through the duration of Ashington’s 34 overs and ended on a superb unbeaten 56.

McCafferty won the toss and put the visitors into bat – and they got the much-needed breakthrough in the fifth over when Francis Collins was bowled off stump by Matty Collins at 33-1.

Fellow opener Ben Mussett was the sole reason why Newcastle had raced to in excess of six runs an over in the early stages, although he survived an early scare.

The first of two interruptions for rain arrived with the visitors on 84-1 and the 100 came up in the 16th over.

After going off at 2pm, the teams were left kicking their heels for a further 90 minutes and when play resumed – the game now a 34 - 29 overs contest – Ian Sharkey bowled Mussett in the 19th for 92.

Christopher McBride – who had hit a century in the recent T20 match between the two sides at Langwell Crescent – again found his touch and his 50 came up in the 23rd followed by his century in the 28th.

After 29 overs, Newcastle skipper Ben Quirk declared - with the five overs which remained tagged on to Ashington’s allocation.

In reply, Ashington lost opener Jack Jessop in the first over. Scott Pearcey was caught in the eighth before Jack McCarthy partnered Nichol and the pair looked to be in no trouble until the former was bowled middle stump for 25.

Nichol and James Harmison studiously grafted hard and the Ashington 100 came up in the 25th over.

Nichol completed his 50 – which included seven boundaries - with a shot for two from the last ball of the 29th and the pair were still at the wicket at the close.