Ashington Cricket Club’s first XI skipper Greg Williams said his side had made the ‘perfect start’ after a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Benwell & Walbottle at Langwell Crescent on Saturday.
Williams also praised the hard labours of groundsmen Mick Brown and Arnie Gilholm.
He said: “I won the toss and decided to put them in. Obviously due to the weather, not many players have had much chance to practice outdoors and I thought it would be an opportunity to put them under pressure early doors, which is exactly what we did.
“The wicket played absolutely fine, it was brilliant for this stage of the season, but we owe a huge debt to Mick Brown and Arnie Gilholm.
“Considering they only had a week to prepare the wicket and ground because of the rain, we got a game of cricket played on a field where last week we never thought it would happen.
“Certainly without their efforts we wouldn’t have been sitting here with 20 points.”
Williams singled out right arm pace man Callum Storey for special mention after his six-wicket haul as the visitors were shot out for 112.
“We bowled well from the start with Callum Storey taking three early wickets,” he said.
“They built a 59-run partnership through the middle, but then after we broke that, we went through them at the end and again it was a great piece of fast bowling by Callum down the bank.”
Williams described the batting of Jack Jessop and Ben O’Brien as being ‘faultless’.
“We lost Neil Wood and Ani Singh early on, but Jack and Ben came together and were faultless,” he added.
Chasing a low score, if we had lost another couple of wickets it could have turned into a funny game of cricket, but the pair batted really well, showing their experience.
“In cold and far from easy conditions, it is hard work in the field and it’s hard to motivate fielders but you have got to keep going.
“It was a great early season performance and perfect start for us as we bowled and batted well.”
Teenager Jack McCarthy will make his Ashington first XI debut on Saturday when the Colliers travel to Hexham to face Tynedale.
Regular wicketkeeper Daniel Grant is unavailable so McCarthy will take over the job of gloves man.
“Jack had a good season in the second XI last year and started last weekend by hitting an unbeaten half century,” added Williams.
“It will be a big step for him on Saturday, but he would probably be a first team regular for a lot of other sides.”