After the away game in Sunderland we returned home to face Ashington who had an identical record to ourselves in what is always a hard fought game. Jayam Patel retained his place as Pete Jones was unavailable and Freddie Mcgregror and Andy Dawson dropping into the 3rd team with Hector Chambers coming in for a second team debut from the 1st team and Rohaan Aatif coming up from the 3rd team.
The weather forecast was good but the pitch was damp after some midweek rain so the toss was likely to be key, with the pitch expected to dry out and get better as the afternoon sun came out. Ashington won the toss and ask The hill to bat.
The Hill started with usual opening pair of Moore and Hynd but soon lost Hynd for 9 to a poor shot, unfortuneately this seemed to set the tone for the afternoon. Aatif quickly followed chasing a wide one and Mustard then chipped to mid off leaving the hill in trouble at 38 for 3. When Moore and Fletcher were then out in similar fashion to each other caught behind off good turning balls from Rutherford, as early finish looked on the cards as the Hill were reeling at 53 for 5. However debutant Chambers and Nadella started to repair the damage with a good partnership, it looked like we could post a score of around 200. However Nadella tried to increase the tempo and was bowled for 33 and bringing to an end a 70 run partnership. Things got worse when Kilpatrick was then harshly adjudge LBW first ball leaving the hill again under pressure at 123 for 7. Torre somehow survived a big appeal on the hatric ball which looked out! Chambers and Torre again set about rebuilding and Chambers passed 50 on debut. But again as we tried to accelerate Chambers was caught for a well made 60 from 93 balls. Torre quickly followed for 15 and when Safi was last out for 7 we, were 167 all out in 47.2 overs. Ashington had bowled and fielded very well, which was illustrated by the fact that there were only 4 wides in the whole innings.
Ashington looked to start aggressively with Williams counter attacking scoring a quick 25 from 30 before being well caught by Aatif off Torre. Alderson followed off Nadella but Ashington were up with the rate and looking comfortable. The hill stuck at the task but we were again plagued by wides, Safi removed the Ashington skipper leaving Ashington 111 for 3 but Levison was well set and anchoring the innings on 50. Jayam bowled well and straight (3 overs 0 for 14) but Ashington were edging closer and it felt a little late in the day when Chambers removed Levison for 63 leaving only 10 to win with overs in hand. Ashington eventually winning by 5 wickets with 4 overs remaining. Torre 10-2-17-1 and Safi 10-2-27-2 being the pick of the bowlers. As mentioned 21 wides again this week also contributing the defeat.
Overall Ashington were better all over the pitch and were deserved winners. We know that we have to up our game to compete at the high standards that we have set ourselves over the last few seasons. Looking back I think we contributed to 7 of the 10 wickets to fall by poor shots. We know that this must improve next week as we take on an unbeaten Whitburn side who have won all 4 of their matches so far this season.
The scorecard is available here https://benwellhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/5024701