The game had a scrappy start with the home side having the better field positions in the first 20 minutes without looking like scoring, due to a solid Ash defence with Jack Whiting looking classy at fullback. Ash also benefited from a couple of early Jack Rutherford drives, playing his first game in three years.
After 25 minutes, in what was Ashington’s first fluent move, Steven Parsons broke through the centre, he found Rich Harmer in support who in turn fed Owen Hayton, who crossed for the first try, Arkle adding the conversion.
From the restart Ash were forced to defend but from deep in their 22. Whiting broke out of defence, chipped over the covering defence and collected his own kick and out-paced the defence to score an excellent individual try, Arkle adding his second conversion.
Ash further extended their lead after 38 minutes, a Mathew Webster drive was picked up by the sidestepping Adam Junk who fed Parsons who scored Ashington’s third try.
With half time beckoning, Ash seemed to relax and a missed tackle saw Shields cross for a converted try with the last play of the half.
Coach Hayton used his bench at half time bringing on Nichol, Howie and Brown, and whilst all three made positive contributions during the second half the changes and injuries to Smart and Moffat seemed to disrupt Ashington’s rhythm, whilst the Shields try just before half time seemed to galvanise the home side.
Ash began to miss tackles as Shields ran in four unanswered second half tries to give them the win their second half performance deserved.
For Ash, Greg Henderson was their man of the match for his non-stop ball carrying efforts throughout the game.
Ash 2s had an excellent 41-17 home win against North Shields 2s as they continued their good run of recent form.
This Saturday (March 12), Ashington1sts are at home to Barnard Castle, with a 3pm kick-off.