Ashington made it seven wins in a row and maintained top of the league spot in the Go North East Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League on Saturday after winning at Shotley Bridge from the last ball of the match.
Colliers overseas all rounder Ani Singh smashed an unbeaten century in a contest between the defending champions and the current leaders.
In the final analysis there was much to admire about the pacesetters from Wansbeck who clutched a memorable victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Profitable stands for the first, second, fourth and seventh wickets, all involving Singh, set the visitors on the road for a formidable total of 267-6.
Neil Wood dictated with a dashing 30 before a change of pace with the introduction of Greg Patterson saw him caught behind from the first ball of the 12th over.
The Ashington hundred came up in the 22nd over, which also signalled the end of Jack Jessop, who playing forward was bowled by Patterson for 20.
Singh reached his half century with a pull shot through mid-wicket, and after Ben O’Brien had departed for 15, lbw to Gary Johnson, Ben Harmison partnered Singh in what was to be the most productive stand of the innings with 76.
The pair were going along well, but in the 41st, Harmison on 42, clipped a delivery from Patterson straight down Kieran Milburn’s throat at deep square leg.
Sean McCafferty and Williams quickly followed before Singh completed his century and went on to carry his bat with an unbeaten 120, an innings which included 17 fours and four sixes, whilst Daniel Grant ended on 21.
In true fashion, the champions, who had bowled well during the final ten overs to curtail Ashington’s hopes of hitting the 300 mark, retaliated and blazed their own red hot trail in a scoring sequence almost identical to their opponents.
But the introduction of Ian Sharkey paid dividends as he had Milburn brilliantly caught by Williams running from mid-off, then Paul Greenwell looked on as Rutherford produced an amazing diving catch over his head.
Rutherford trapped Phil Brown leg before for 61 and when Sharkey bowled Lewis Hall middle stump and Stuart Graham was safely pocketed by O’Brien on the deep long-off boundary from the last ball of the 35th for 24, Shotley had lost three wickets in consecutive overs.
From 155-5, Patterson and Ross Andrews swung the pendulum massively back in their side’s favour before a mix-up led to the run out of the latter.
Harmison returned to the attack, bowling back off a length to slow the scoring rate down, but Patterson and Adam Phillips still whittled the asking rate down to 25 from five overs.
Patterson (54) then clipped a ball from Harmison where Singh produced a stupendous catch on the run and the atmosphere reached fever pitch as Wood gobbled up an offering from Johnson in the 49th.
Shotley required six to win from the final over bowled by left arm spinner Rutherford, and from the second delivery, Callum Storey added to the excitement after holding onto a juggling catch to send back Phillips.
It all went down to the last ball where the home side wanted three and although Jack Rowley found the leg side, Jack Jessop’s throw to wicketkeeper Daniel Grant saw the glove man whip the bails off with Rowley out of his ground before he could complete a second run and force a tie, leaving the Colliers victors by the slenderest of margins.
Shotley Bridge 8 points
Ashington 20 points
On Saturday Ashington are at home to Swalwell.