Ashington Cricket Club's captain looks back at team's first season in the Premier Division
McCafferty said: “I’m happy with how the season went, but the only negative spin is that I think we should have ended higher up the table.
“Ultimately that’s down to us because we could have won more games, but going into next year it’s been a good learning curve. We wanted to be in the top flight and I think we’re better off because the club has been buzzing all year.
“In one sense I’m happy, but in another it’s a case of what could have been in terms of our league position, although I’m a big believer of the cliché that the league table doesn’t lie across a whole season.”
For the first few weeks, the league newcomers were bottom of the division, but McCafferty was always confident they wouldn’t finish up in a relegation spot.
“I was never worried or looking down over relegation,” he said. “I know we lost our first few games and were bottom for a while, but I still believed that with the talent we have got in our team we would climb the table.
“We had lads going out of the team through shift work; we lost Mitch Killeen through injury, who would probably have played quite a big part for us, and our professional, Jeremiah ‘Chilly’ Louis, couldn’t bowl for a while after his first week – but that gave opportunities for other lads, who did really well and will be better for the experience.
“Unfortunately we lost a big portion of July due to the weather, but had we beaten Tynemouth we would have gone second from top and that was only a matter of six weeks before the end of the season, so it just shows how tightly packed the league was, as well as being very competitive from second to seventh.”
Ashington lost four of their last five league games and the skipper added: “There are things which I look back on and I think we’ve got very good players here but certainly at the back end of the season we didn’t quite hit our straps.”
He continued: “We got to finals day; the semi-final of the Banks Salver and won the Smithson Cup, whilst in the league we beat some good teams along the way like Burnmoor at Langwell Crescent, which provided a great memory as we chased down 250. However, I’m not the type of person who sits back and is pleased. We cannot settle for seventh place – we have to strive to look beyond that.”
He concluded: “My thanks go to the chairman Steve Storey plus Mel, Nicky and Heather, and all the volunteers including the ground staff – Chris Watson, Mark Storey and Greg Williams, who also get a little bit of help from David Rutherford. I think it’s been a massive club effort this year. We have improved not just on the field but we’ve also elevated ourselves off it. The amount of people who have come to watch us and socialise at the club has been terrific and that’s great because we want to be a club at the heart of the community.”