Ashington firsts fail to claim a hat-trick of wins after falling short against Sunderland

James Harmison in action against Sunderland. Picture: Steve Graham Sports PhotosJames Harmison in action against Sunderland. Picture: Steve Graham Sports Photos
James Harmison in action against Sunderland. Picture: Steve Graham Sports Photos
Ashington’s hopes of stringing a hat-trick of wins together were dashed on Saturday when they went down by five wickets against Sunderland.

Put in to bat, the Langwell Crescent side lost Adam Nichol early caught behind by wicketkeeper and captain Chris Youldon, but the runs started to flow from the in-form Jack Jessop (39) and Scott Pearcey (26), who added 57.

However, the dismissal of Pearcey sparked a collapse and from a position of being 76-1, the Wansbeck side fell away to 89-5 and 102-6.

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Eventually, Ashington were able to post a competitive score of 167 from their 45 overs with determined knocks of 33 from James Harmison and an unbeaten 20 from Alex Storey.

The Mighty Acorns broke through when Dan Shurben was caught by skipper Sean McCafferty off Matty Collins for 13, but although Ashington were always in the game, the visitors wrapped things up with more than three overs to spare.

Micky Allan scored an unbeaten 58 and was supported by knocks of 26 by George Drissell, an unbeaten 22 from Jack Johnson and 19 from George Fishwick.

Cam Nichols and Collins took two wickets apiece, but the most economical spell came from right arm spinner Harmison, whose nine overs cost a paltry 12 runs.

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Skipper McCafferty said afterwards: “We did a lot right today but the most disappointing thing was I can’t think of one good ball which got our batsmen out.

“Basically it meant that we gave our wickets away. We lost them in clumps and have got to take responsibility.

“Both sides bowled and fielded well, but we didn’t bank enough runs and I reckon we ended about 20-30 short.

“After a fairly solid start with the bat, we got ourselves into a good position but we just didn’t quite capitalise on it.”

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He added: “In the grand scheme of things, we did really well to get up to 167 through the efforts of James Harmison and Alex Storey, and I thought we ended up with a fairly competitive score.

“When Sunderland replied, we always looked threatening but we probably bowled too many bad balls up front.

“If we had had them at 30 or 35-1 it would have been more of an even game, but they were 50-1 after 10 overs which meant they were in control and we were chasing the game.”

The Mighty Acorns travel on Saturday (June 1) looking to bounce back when they face Chester le Street and McCafferty said: “It’ll be tough – but I always believe that if we play anywhere near to our best cricket, we are more than a match for any other side in the league.”

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It’s tight at the top of Division two in the North East Premier League with only four points separating the top six clubs.

Ashington seconds are in the mix in third place following their eight-wicket win over Sacriston.

Skipper Josh Robinson won the toss and elected to field – and his move paid rich dividends with the home side all out for 76 in 35.5 overs.

David Rutherford (4-13 from nine overs) and Alex Tait (3-13 from seven overs) caused the damage.

In reply, Robinson struck a superb 51 which included six fours and three sixes before his side wrapped up the win in the 11th over.

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