Crucial innings from McCarthy as Ashington cricket remain on top

Ashington Cricket Club’s wicketkeeper batsman Jack McCarthy deservedly won the K Plastics Man of the Match award after playing a crucial innings as the Mighty Acorns recorded a five wickets success over Blaydon on Saturday, writes Brian Bennett.

By Keith Hamblin
Monday, 11th July 2022, 12:48 pm
Updated Monday, 11th July 2022, 12:50 pm
Man of the Match, Jack McCarthy.
Man of the Match, Jack McCarthy.

After the loss of Adam Nichol in the seventh over with the score on 21, McCarthy went to the wicket and was still there – unbeaten on a fabulous 92 - when the Wansbeck side won the game in the 47th over.

Afterwards, the 22 year old – who pointed to a drive through mid on for four as being his best shot of the day - revealed that had reaped the benefits from a lot of practice in the days leading up to the game and his target is to be more consistent.

“I’ve been due a knock like today,” he said, “I’ve been getting out in silly ways and obviously I’m pleased but to be honest, I’m just happy that we have won the game.

"During the week, I had a good net on Tuesday. Thursday and Friday and hit a lot of balls - so I felt pretty good when I went in to bat today. But I’ve got to try and be as consistent as possible. I feel I’m good enough – I just need to be more street-smart with the bat and try to play the situation more.

"Today I tried to hit the ball on the ground and didn’t try any expansive shots apart from paddles and reverse sweeps. I tried to play as straight as possible and take my time because I know I can catch up.”

Ashington-born McCarthy who is a coach with the Northumberland Cricket Board, continued: “Bowling wise I thought we let them (Blaydon) get away quickly. Everyone knows that Langwell Crescent is a high scoring ground; the outfield is lightening and that groundsmen Greg Williams and Mark Storey do a fantastic job.

"I think if we had had a few more wickets in hand we could have gone a bit harder but with Younas (Ahmadzai) and Ben (Harmison) both out as well as Jack Jessop, we just had to try and grind the result out.

"I know Blaydon are near the bottom of the table but they have got some really good players who can ruin a game and their professional Abdul Ameer is a good player. But on the day, we were better than them and I’m buzzing.”

The visitors amassed 252-9 and when they had the hosts on 146-4 and 175-5 in reply, must have had thoughts of causing an upset against the league leaders.

But McCarthy’s highest score of the summer, coupled with a superb undefeated 48 from skipper Sean McCafferty in an unbroken stand of 81 saw the Mighty Acorns home with more than three overs to spare.

McCafferty was full of praise for his outfit when he said “Fair play to our lads because I thought we applied ourselves really, really well and paced our innings tremendously well. Unfortunately we lost wickets at the wrong times but the man after (the incoming batsman) came in and just reset.

Despite a brilliant win, McCafferty is still looking for improvement. “There are things which we can definitely do better and it’s coming up to crunch time in the season where every result now matters. We are the ones on the top of the league so we need to keep focussed.”