VICE-CAPTAIN Daniel Grant stroked his way to a maiden half century on Saturday to lead Ashington to a four-wicket win over Whickham at Langwell Crescent.
In sweltering temperatures, Grant’s timely unbeaten knock of 52 also enabled his side to keep the heat firmly on league leaders Ryton – with the Colliers in second place, albeit 14 points behind.
However, having tasted joy with the bat, Grant kept a low profile on matters and deflected the attention away his own personal triumph and moreover towards victory for his side.
“My performance wasn’t as important as us winning the game,” he said.
“I would like nothing better than for us to get promoted and if I can help the team along the way then that is all what matters.”
Grant, who has played for the club since he was seven-years-old, is looking for more runs to flow from his bat.
He added: “Completing my first senior 50 has been a long time coming and I haven’t stopped smiling since.
“I felt in good nick and it was an unbelieveable feeling, and will hopefully make me push on and get many more.”
Whickham’s South African professional Matt Parr had top scored for the Glebe outfit with 52 out of a final total of 190-8 from 50 overs.
Home skipper Greg Williams stifled Whickham’s highly promising start when he bowled Matty Rodger for 28 then trapped Michael Davison leg before, this after Surya Rathore had made the initial breakthrough in the 18th over, having Michael Armstrong caught by Matty Storey for 26.
The game was developing into an interesting contest with the visitors going along well then being pegged back as Ashington took wickets at vital times.
Callum Storey bowled Stephen Davidson for 22 and Rathore did likewise with the final ball of the innings, removing Peter Ruddick to ensure his side claimed another bowling point.
However, Simon Prudhoe and Michael Thewlis also made telling contributions by running out Tony Ainley and Daniel Davison respectively.
Rathore finished with 3-40; Williams 2-38 and Storey 1-48.
Ashington’s reply was similar with openers Neil Wood and Andrew Gray leading the charge.
Wood was bowled by Daniel Davison for 33 before Simon Prudhoe (20) and Gray (43) fell in quick succession. However, Grant was batting well, holding the innings together, and although he lost partners in Thewlis and Williams, he was involved in what proved to be a highly eventful penultimate over when 11 runs were required.
Grant collected a couple of twos and a single from the first three balls, which took him through the half century mark, then Matty Storey was caught by Ruddick off Andy King before incoming batsman Surya Rathore finished the game off in style, smashing his first delivery for six.
Match sponsor: The Bathroom & Tile Co, Woodhorn Road, Ashington.
Ashington 19 points Whickham 7 points
Other score: Smithson Cup: Morpeth 1st XI: 133-7; Ashington 1st XI: 131-6.