Ashington skipper Greg Williams hailed his side’s all round performance after they narrowed the gap at the top of the A2 division of the Wellstream Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League to two points on Saturday with victory over leaders Backworth at Langwell Crescent.
A beaming Williams said after the 38-run success: “There was a little bit of grass on the wicket but I just thought after winning the toss that it would get slower and lower as the game went on, so I decided to bat.
“My philosophy was that the earlier you bat on it the better it would be.
“It was difficult and although we were a little bit disappointed with 191, in the end it was a good score and it was about adapting to the wicket, which Daniel Grant did – which proved to be the difference between the two sides.”
Williams explained his decision to promote Grant into the role of emergency opener and hinted that the wicketkeeper/batsman is poised to head the batting line-up again next week.
“With Scott (Dunn) due to arrive shortly before the start, I didn’t want to rush him into batting straight away, so Daniel was asked to step into the role,” he said.
“We know Daniel is capable of scoring runs and today he has proved that – and done what we have wanted him to do over a few years.
“Daniel has been batting down the order but his innings today will not cause a problem for us – more of a switch around.
“We’ll look at the situation but Scott Dunn is comfortable in the middle order anyway, and if someone opens the batting for you and scores a match-winning knock then they will be disappointed not to open the week after.”
Williams also complimented Simon Prudhoe, who hit 56 and who shared a second wicket partnership of 107 with Grant.
He said: “Simon got 50 and batted well, and he will be disappointed in the way he was out but it happens on wickets like that.
“The ball was spinning and they had two spinners who bowled flat and the ball was hard to get away.”
Williams was delighted that his team removed openers Alan Robson and Ravi Teja before too much damage had been done.
“Backworth always get off to a good start,” he said.
“Robson plays his shots and Ravi Teja has played at the highest level you can and is always going to score runs.
“The pair of them could have killed the game in 15 overs if they had got going, but we got them early.”
Williams was happy with his bowlers – and the performance in the field.
He said: “Callum (Storey) bowled well, then it was a big decision to bring spinner Chris Watson into the attack, but it proved it was the right one in the end because the slower you bowled, the harder it was to get the ball away.
“We had Steve Harmison to fall back onto to bowl down the bank and he bowled some tight overs in the middle, then it was a toss up between bringing Matty Storey or myself on.
“Hats off to our fielders though. We had a couple of fumbles near the end but all in all we dived to stop fours and took some really good catches on the line.
“If we hadn’t – and we’ve won by 38 runs – it could have led to match-winning innings for them.
“Instead this was a great win for us and I’m over the moon.”
Williams meanwhile sent a ‘get well soon’ message on behalf of the club to Backworth skipper Mark Minto, whom he drove to Wansbeck General Hospital with a finger injury.
“It was a nasty injury to Mark and I certainly wouldn’t want to see it happen again,” he said.
“That made a difference too as Mark bats in the top three. It was a big loss for them and we wish him a speedy recovery.”