Harmison gives Ashington squad a pat on the back

Ashington’s former England pace bowler Stephen Harmison sent congratulations to Langwell Crescent’s first XI skipper Greg Williams and his squad at the weekend on achieving a league and cup double.

The Colliers won the A2 division by 57 points as well as defeating Alnwick to lift the Divisional Cup.

And Harmison said: “Ashington have deserved to win the league because they have been the best team in the division. I’m thrilled to bits for the club.”

Harmison, who is in his benefit season with Durham, was restricted in making appearances for the Colliers due to other commitments, but he acknowledged that he had seen a marked improvement in performances.

“I’m not being patronising – far from it,” he said, “but I have played for 15 years and know the game inside out and can see the wider picture.

“This group of players at Ashington have done very well. They had talent but they needed a bit of belief to bring the talent through and they have managed to get that.

“It was a simple way of looking at things then for them to learn from what they were doing and when doing things well to continue.

“It was a case of fulfilling what they were trying to do in all departments of the game and to do it very well.

“From the first game I came in to the last I played, I saw a marked improvement.

“They were trying to implement a game plan.

“You can see a situation happening and have to be quick to deal with it and I gave this – with my experience – to the younger lads and they have benefited from it.”

Harmison added: “I have seen the improvement in spinner Chris Watson; Callum Storey has had a very good season and Sonu Singh has got better and better as the season progressed – all of which will stand them in good stead when they play on better pitches and against better players next season.”