Boldon CC 155 all out
Ashington Cricket Club made a dream start to a new era on Saturday when both first and second XIs won their opening matches against Boldon and Hetton Lyons respectively in the North East Premier League, writes Brian Bennett.
The Langwell Crescent outfit resigned from the Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League after the end of last season to link up with the Premier League and although it was nervy for both Ashington sides at times on Saturday, both got over the line.
At Boldon, it was Callum Storey and Ian Sharkey who came to the fore as the Mighty Acorns chased down 155 from 54 overs. The pair – more renowned for their bowling prowess – found themselves together at the wicket after the home side had fought back into the contest on a wicket which proved to be a challenge to the batsmen throughout. Always up with the rate, the Colliers slumped from being 70-2 to 76-5. Jack Jessop (16) and skipper Sean McCafferty (22) looked in good nick until both fell to Jonathan Shakespeare and Asif Ali repectively.
Mo Shinwari successfully staved off the hat-trick ball after Ali had removed John Turnbull and Adam Nichol with consecutive deliveries then newcomer Cameron Steel - who had played the perfect solid innings and who had coolly moved onto 43 - pulled a ball from Matthew Groombridge towards the long boundary where he was pouched by Nicholas Sampson-Barnes. When Shinwari’s determined knock came to an end in the 38th, caught behind by Joseph Forster off Sampson-Barnes, the pendulum swung towards the home side – only Storey and Sharkey had other ideas. Storey – the aggressor - smashed four boundaries in a superb unbeaten 38 whilst at the other end, a determined Sharkey, who finished undefeated on ten, looked to keep his wicket intact.
The combination saw the former drive the ball through cover for the winning runs with three overs to spare - much to the delight of his team-mates and the travelling support. And it was Storey who had crucially made the first incision in the tenth over of the Boldon innings, bowling Gary Scott with a beauty which nipped back. The home openers, captain Chris Ellison (37) and Scott (22) had added 40 before Storey struck then after Matty Collins had bowled Nathan Hewitt, Ashington came back into it with Sharkey, Shinwari and Paul Rutherford striking telling blows, the latter gleefully holding onto a return catch from Ali (21).
Forster’s 33 towards the end, boosted the home total and after McCafferty had run out Groombridge, Collins polished the innings off having Forster caught behind by Jack McCarthy. Meanwhile at Langwell Crescent, opener Adam Dawson hit 59 for visitors Hetton Lyons but they were bowled out for 123 in 39 overs with debutant Cameron Skinner leading the way with 4-34. Ashington were in trouble until skipper Josh Robinson (42) and Greg Williams (47) forged an unbroken stand to take their side home.
*Ashington chairman Bob Dunning said on Saturday night: “Everyone at the club is delighted with the start made by both teams. In a new league, they were facing opposition who they knew little about and to win their respective matches was just perfect.”
*On Saturday, Ashington 1sts are at home to Washington whilst the 2nd XI are away to Felling. Both matches have a 1pm start.