Local bragging rights are lost

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Ashington v Morpeth Northumberland & Tyneside Senior League, Division A1

A CONTROVERSIAL umpiring decision led to Morpeth paying the price as they suffered a painful defeat at the hands of local rivals Ashington.

The visitors lost the toss and were forced to field on what looked a flat wicket.

This was evident as the home side got off to a flier with Jessop and Thornton playing some elegant strokes as they raced to 44 within nine overs.

The breakthrough came courtesy of Chris Horner when he had Jessop caught behind by Ben Maxted on 26. Horner produced a great spell of bowling as he toiled away up the hill bowling 10 overs for 25 runs.

This wicket came just before the introduction of Morpeth’s two spinners, Paul Elliott and Jonny Craigs, who picked up a wicket each to leave Ashington at 112-3.

Despite the wickets falling, Thornton remained at the crease and soon passed 50 when joined by Boyd.

The two were able to score freely off the spinners without taking many risks and they took the score past 150 inside 40 overs.

This led to a change in the bowling which saw Gary Christie and Michael Craigs brought into action. The pair bowled with accuracy and control and were able to dismiss the dangerous Boyd and Thornton after the latter passed what was a well-made century.

Christie ended up with figures of three for 32 off nine overs and Michael finished with two for 32 off eight overs, which helped reduce Ashington’s total to 208-8 after 50 overs.

Morpeth’s chase did not get off to the best of starts as they lost Sander in the first over for just two then the captain, Jonny Craigs, was run out by a direct hit in the deep for six leaving Morpeth in trouble at 16-2.

This brought Ben Harmison, formerly of Ashington CC, to the crease and he along with Jonny Foster tried to re-build the innings.

They took the score to 49 before Foster was clean bowled by Boyd for 19. A usual aggressive Maxted then came to the crease and struck some lusty blows before being dismissed by Wood for 19.

Michael Craigs and Harmison as a left and right-hand combination were then able to punish some loose bowling from Ashington and passed their 50 partnership soon after Harmison passed his half-century.

Harmison and Craigs were cruising before they were both dismissed by the returning Boyd for 66 and 34 respectively, leaving the score at 160-6 and Morpeth still needing 49 runs for victory. This soon became 165-7 with Ashington sensing victory.

However a twenty run partnership from Horner and Christie swung the match back in Morpeth’s favour.

Then the controversial run-out of Christie shifted momentum once again and led to the away side requiring eight runs off the final over with only one wicket in hand.

Unfortunately, Morpeth were only able to get four runs off the over leaving them painfully short of what would have been back-to-back wins.