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Tanner Cup Final Preview
Friday 12th August 2016 @ 10:37 by Mark Phillip
Ashton Sports

Ashton make their first Cup Final appearance in 21 years this Sunday, and will be hoping to pick up silverware for the first time in many years. Not since 1965, when Walsden were beaten at Littleborough, have Ashton tasted success at 1st team level.

Some may say that Ashton’s route to the final has been fortuitous, involving a ‘toss of a coin’ victory over Stayley in the 1st round. However, Ashton’s display in that game, dismissing Stayley for 109 before the rain arrived, showed the strength and competitiveness of Jack Newman’s team. This was exemplified in the 2 succeeding matches. Premiership outfit Monton arrived at Reyner Lane and were sent home well beaten. The Ashton bowling and fielding display was exemplary as the visitors fell for 89. Werneth provided the opposition in the semi-final and having dismissed Newman’s side for 94 would have been hopeful of progressing. Once again the Ashton attack rose to the occasion, reducing Werneth to 15-7 before moving on to a conclusive victory.

Premiership side Crompton provide the opposition this Sunday. On paper the Glebe Street team will be favourites. They currently lie 6th, 10 points adrift of leaders Walsden. In pro Keigan Petersen, last years paid man Josh Tolley and overseas amateur Denis Louis they have a formidable top order. Crompton stalwart Si Wright provides further strength and always contributes effectively with the ball.

However Ashton’s recent form provides the Reyner Lane faithful with hope. The bowling attack is arguably the most rounded in the league. Seamers Ryan Heap and Suhaib Khan always provide a threat, and spin twins Brad Woolley and pro Chami Edirisinghe can prove unplayable. Not only do they take wickets, (in excess of 70 between them in the 12 games that Ashton have managed in this rain ravaged campaign), but they do it economically, going for no more than 2.5 runs an over. Recently there has been an increased consistency with the bat seeing Tom Hanks and Edirisinghe in fine form. Khan provides lower middle order stability, picking up 30’s regularly. Whilst the final line up remains to be seen it is highly likely that the Ashton team, with an average age of 21, will include 9 players who have come up through the Club’s junior section. Whatever the outcome this is a reward for the hard work put in by a number of unsung individuals to running junior teams over recent years

The game is at Moorside this Sunday, (14th August), starting at 1.30. Admission is £4, (£2 concessions). Skipper Newman said “The final is a great opportunity for a young team who have been together for a long time at both junior and senior level. We want to show what we can do. What is without doubt is that spectators will see a team that is proud to play for Ashton and which will be doing their very best to fill that space in the trophy cabinet!”

By Martin Frost