'Most challenging weekend' facing Ashington captain Sean
Sean McCafferty has spoken about how he is facing his most challenging weekend since he took over the captaincy of Ashington Cricket Club’s first eleven three years ago.
The Mighty Acorns host a double header against Sunderland at Langwell Crescent coming face-to-face with the Wearsiders – who are top of the first division of the North East Premier League – tomorrow Saturday, July 17) followed 24 hours later in the final of the Banks Salver Plate, which is a match held over from last season.
The weather forecast is excellent for both days and McCafferty said: “Sunderland are a good outfit and to play them two days running in different formats is certainly going to be a challenge but one which the players should be looking forward too.
"We have been under par for a few weeks now and need to raise the standards we know we can hit and if we get things right we can beat anybody.”
Casting an eye purely towards the cup final, he added: “They (Sunderland) are in a fine run of form and we will be the underdogs but we will concentrate purely on ourselves – and anything can happen.
“It does seem strange playing a cup final which was unfortunately postponed last season but it nevertheless represents a chance of silverware. I’m sure it will be a good day and the lads enjoy it and if we are successful, it would be a bit of reward for some good performances last year.”
Saturday’s league clash begins at noon and will be played under the win-lose-draw regulations whilst Sunday’s clash has a 1pm start and is a 40 overs per side contest.
Ashington are keeping their fingers crossed that Callum Storey – who has been sidelined for a few weeks with a hamstring injury – suffered no reaction after a work out at training last night. The right armer bowled a couple of overs in Wednesday’s defeat against Alnmouth & Lesbury in the quarter-final of the Smithson Cup which represented his first piece of action for a month and he is included for tomorrow’s clash along with brother Alex.
Right-arm seamer Ian Sharkey is unavailable for both matches whilst Cameron Skinner misses Saturday but returns for Sunday when Matty Storey also comes into the side.
Meanwhile, in division two of the North East Premier League, Ashington seconds skipper Josh Robinson wants his side to ‘get on a roll’ after last week’s convincing win by nine wickets against Chester le Street.
The victory – their first for two months – propelled the Wansbeck outfit up to sixth place in the table.
“We have never played Sunderland before so they will be a bit of an unknown quantity,” said Robinson, “Looking back to last weekend, it was a great performance and I’ll be looking for a repeat and hoping we can get on a roll.”
How the teams line up:
SATURDAY: Ashington 1st XI (v Sunderland, NEPL, home): Sean McCafferty (cpt), Jack McCarthy (wk), Jack Jessop, James Harmison, Ben Harmison, Adam Nichol, Bob Rutherford,
Scott Pearcey, Matty Collins, Callum Storey and Alex Storey.
Ashington 2nd XI (v Sunderland 2nd XI, NEPL, away): Josh Robinson (cpt), Thomas Luke (wk), Michael Levison, Matty Storey, Jonny Storey, Matty Potts, George Collins,
Cameron Walker, Michael Thewlis, Chris Dunn and James Lovat.
SUNDAY: Ashington 1st XI (v Sunderland, home, Banks Salver Plate final): Sean McCafferty (cpt), Jack McCarthy (wk), Jack Jessop, James Harmison, Ben Harmison, Adam Nichol, Bob Rutherford, Scott Pearcey, Matty Collins, Cameron Skinner and Matty Storey.