Match Reports

Arthington Cricket Club’s 2020 Play-offs Story

Due to the Nidderdale League’s decision to have play-offs at the end of this pandemic-affected season, the match reports from the fixtures on 12th and 19th September have been combined into a single report of the club’s exciting play-off journey.


Hosts rampant as highest score of the season sees off visitors

Both Arthington sides were in excellent form in the semi-final phase of the play-offs and eased through to their respective finals with two convincing displays.

Having finished 2nd in the shortened league campaign, the 1st XI faced a visit from 3rd place Walton Park; a team they had not yet played. Knowing little about the opposition, captain Naveed Andrabi was disappointed to lose the toss and bat first on what seemed a bowler-friendly day. His disappointment, however, was short-lived, as both he and Sajid Hussain combined well in a fabulous 103-run stand for the first wicket. Hussain, in particular, showed great intent from the off and hit several fine boundaries. It was this intent that proved his undoing in the 20th over as he was stumped for 33.

The top seven of Arthington’s batting line-up all made double figures, but the stand out innings was, once again, Andrabi. Having negotiated the early overs, he attacked the Walton Park bowling and struck some magnificent blows to the straight boundaries. A shot from a full-toss into the off-side was sailing for his eighth six but was excellently intercepted by a fielder to bring the captain’s innings to a close on 83, having also hit 7 fours.

Amazingly, Lawrence Barraclough (18), Ahmer Sadiq (26), Hamza Mahmood (36), Rafiullah Khan (26) and Wasim Malik (13) all hit at least one maximum, as the middle order accelerated in the latter part of the innings. Understandably, the gung-ho approach was not without risk and after the opening partnership, no pair spent a great deal of time together at the crease.

In fact, there were still seven balls left in the innings when Arthington lost their final wicket, but that did not prevent them from achieving their highest score of the season of 279. An intimidating target for the opposition, requiring 7 runs per over from the very start.

Their reply got off to a shaky start with a great run-out. Hamza Mahmood’s clever throw to the far end found Luke Seaborne waiting by the stumps to remove the bails. The batsman was comfortably short of his ground but had the throw gone to the closer end, there would have been no reward. Mahmood then backed up his fielding with a wicket from his bowling to leave the visitors two wickets down and struggling.

The change bowlers, Ahmer Sadiq and Umar Farooq each managed a wicket apiece, the latter’s scalp courtesy of a great catch by Wasim Malik, which brought the Walton Park number 5 batsman to the middle. On another day, his determined knock may have led his team to victory as he batted for the remainder of the innings, but on this occasion his teammates were not able to match his ability and fell around him.

Wasim Malik took the first of his three wickets via a simple catch by Ahmer Sadiq at cover, then Rafiullah Khan joined in the carnage by unseating the bails. Malik struck again, this time with the help of wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson and a catch behind from a very wide ball that the batsman chased. Khan then took his second and third wickets, the latter a caught and bowled, to finish on great figures of 4-2-7-3. This left Malik to bring an end to proceedings as the remaining middle order batsman’s patience finally told and he skied a ball high to the boundary. There was still a great deal to do for the fielder, but Lawrence Barraclough covered excellent ground and took a terrific, diving catch which left him sprawled across the outfield but with the ball safely in his grasp. Walton Park all out for 112.

To nobody’s surprise, Upper Wharfedale saw off Raskelf in even more emphatic fashion to set up a mouth-watering final. Having claimed victory at their rival’s ground last year in the cup, the 1st XI will be confident of repeating the feat. Whatever the case, it promises to be a great match.

Arthington 2nd XI played their semi-final match at Glasshouses, owing to the 1st XI occupying the ACG. Their opposition was the same Thirsk side that fell on their sword the previous week and the match began in similar fashion with the opposition quickly finding themselves 1-2. However, there was a slight recovery to see them reach 73 all out with four overs left in the innings. Once again, Martin Hings (10-5-7-2) and Joe Seaborne (10-6-8-1) displayed their fine bowling skills, each going for less than one run per over and bowling 11 maidens between them.

Vince Greaves-Newall then capitalised with three wickets in his eight overs and there were also two run outs. There was even time for Umer Khan to take a wicket in his first and only over to wrap up the innings.

The reply was not smooth sailing for Arthington though, and with the score at 24-4, it seemed that an unlikely comeback from Thirsk may have been on the cards. But Gareth Meredith and Vince Greaves-Newall settled any Arthington nerves and saw the team home with an excellent, unbeaten 55-run partnership. Meredith struck 3 fours and 3 sixes in his score of 31 and Greaves-Newall finished not out on 23.

It was no surprise to the 2nd XI either, that their play-off final opponents would be Walton Park, who eased past Rainton. The prospect of an excellent final between the division’s two best teams at the ACG was tantalising.



A great day for Arthington CC as both sides record memorable cup final triumphs

The 2020 season has been a difficult one for any passionate cricket player. With the league season having been drastically cut to commence in July rather than April, Arthington’s players knew that every match that was played would be significantly more important and special. After a fantastic league campaign, both the 1st and 2nd XI had the chance to win their respective divisions on the final day of the season. All that was required was one more victory.

The 1st XI took a strong team to Upper Wharfedale, with whom the club has developed quite a fierce rivalry. Ahead of the final, the opposition had the edge over Arthington with two victories to the away side’s one. Still fresh in the mind of all the players, no doubt, was the match between the two sides only two weeks prior, which saw Upper Wharfedale claim bragging rights and the top spot in the league table with a narrow win. However, owing to the unique circumstances of this season’s competition, Arthington had a chance for redemption in a winner takes all cup final to decide the league championship.

The stage was set, the views from the pavilion were spectacular and the smell of agriculture filled the nostrils as both captains strode out to the middle for the toss. In the previous match between the two teams, the toss had proved vital, as the opposition put Arthington in to bat before chasing down their score of 207 with 8 balls to spare. The coin favoured Upper Wharfedale once more, but on this occasion their captain had other plans and opted to bat first; a decision with which Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi was not too disappointed.

The wicket was dry and notably hard at the start of play and a strong breeze was blowing from one end to the other. Luke Seaborne took the new ball and bowled into the breeze in his opening spell. After taking a couple of overs to find his line, Seaborne (5-0-28-1) struck with an out-swinging delivery that took the opening batsman’s outside edge and was excellently caught at second slip by Lawrence Barraclough.

However, despite the early wicket, it was still Upper Wharfedale who had control of the contest after 14 overs, with the score at 65-1 and the hosts were seemingly in the mood to set an imposing total. But Ahmer Sadiq, having replaced Seaborne at the blustery end made a crucial breakthrough in his third over to bowl the remaining Upper Wharfedale opener for an expansive 37 with a full and straight delivery.

Wasim Malik, whose performances with the bat for the 2nd XI had opened many an eye proved just how valuable a player he is with the ball as well with a fine spell of economical bowling. In his seven overs, again bowling into the wind, he conceded only 20 runs and wrestled control of the game back into Arthington’s hands. His tight lines and back of a length bowling proved difficult for the Upper Wharfedale batsmen to get away and the only thing missing from his spell was a well-deserved wicket.

At the other end, Naveed Andrabi’s spell came and went without changing the number in the wickets column, but Umar Farooq (4-0-12-1) did make a crucial breakthrough in the 26th over; his second. In an attempt to regain the momentum, the Upper Wharfedale number three tried to go over the top, but sliced the ball high towards deep cover. For a moment, it seemed that the ball would fall agonisingly short of a despairing Ahmer Sadiq, but he somehow made the ground and still had the composure to take a great, running catch.

With the conclusion of the innings’ 30th over came perhaps the most significant moment of the match. Captain Andrabi opted to use his seventh bowling option in Rafiullah Khan, who had been chomping at the bit for an opportunity to bowl. The Arthington players remembered all too well how destructive the Upper Wharfedale lower order can be, after they had amassed nearly 100 runs in the final 10 overs of their previous innings against them to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, so this phase of the game was crucial for both teams.

A fantastic spell of bowling from Khan ensured that history would not repeat itself on this occasion. In his second over, he removed the dangerous and prolific number four batsman via a catch at long-off from Umar Farooq. In his next over he struck twice, cannoning the ball into the stumps with the third ball of the over before inducing a catch behind by wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson with the last. But the Khan express had not finished its journey there and the next station stop was in the following over with another bail-disturbing full delivery, which caught out a bewildered batsman.

At the other end, Hamza Mahmood finally got rewarded for his efforts, rearranging the stumps in the penultimate over of the innings to finish with terrific figures of 9-2-30-1. It seemed that Upper Wharfedale would take some momentum into their bowling innings as Khan conceded his first boundary with only one more ball to be bowled; an enormous six from a full toss dispatched down the ground. But Khan silenced the many spectators with the final ball of the innings. An unplayable yorker to wrap up his five-for and his incredible bowling spell: 5-0-15-5. After the 40 overs, Upper Wharfedale finished on 171-9, leaving Arthington with a target of 172 to win the league trophy.

Having achieved higher scores in all of their previous batting innings this season, Arthington were confident of getting over the line. However, their optimism was significantly dented when Kamrosh Khan was given out LBW from the very first ball of the reply. This brought Naveed Andrabi to the crease much sooner than he would have liked, but he combined well with opener Umar Farooq to settle Arthington nerves.

At exactly the halfway stage and with the final ball of the 20th over, the 88-run partnership was broken. Andrabi picked the wrong shot to play to a full and fast delivery on the stumps and was cleaned up for an exciting 57, which included 10 fours and 1 magnificent six over backward point. Clearly, the captain’s dismissal had an effect on Farooq, who quickly took over the role of primary run-scorer. His new-found aggression did, ultimately, prove to be his downfall when he picked out the man infront of the throng of Upper Wharfedale supporters at cow corner and was caught. Farooq struck 4 fours and a six in his important innings of 37 taking the score to 116-3.

116 appeared to be a very unlucky number for Arthington, as the score would remain there for three consecutive maiden overs. To make matters worse, halfway through the third of those maidens, Arthington’s hero with the ball Rafiullah Khan was given out LBW, a decision with which he was not overly pleased, indicating that the ball had struck his hip and, being a man of significant stature, this meant that the ball would not have gone on to hit his stumps.

Whether the decision was right or wrong, the outcome was that Arthington found themselves in a spot of bother at the end of the 26th over, still 56 runs short of their target and with four dismissed batsmen now unable to further influence the course of the match. The seemingly straightforward task of scoring exactly four runs per over for victory, complicated by Upper Wharfedale’s excellent bowling attack.

Finally, the score did move forward, and Hamza Mahmood took up the scoring baton. However, soon after he struck a colossal six he was forced to look on helplessly as Ahmer Sadiq served a tricky caught and bowled chance to the excellent Upper Wharfedale spinner who gobbled up the opportunity.

The aforementioned bowling attack faltered in the next five overs, which turned out to be the final five overs of the match, as Mahmood and Lawrence Barraclough expertly steered the Arthington ship into port with their unbeaten 48-run stand. Upper Wharfedale had clearly not learnt from the previous fixture and repeatedly fed Barraclough his favourite delivery, which he dismissed to various parts of the leg-side boundary on three occasions on his way to an important 15. Meanwhile Mahmood, who treated the spin bowling with the utmost respect from one end, took apart the struggling pace bowler running into the wind at the other and used the wind to devastating effect to carry a further three sixes over the boundary.

Mahmood needed only 5 of the 6 balls from the 34th over to seal a fantastic Arthington victory, finishing on 40 not out including 4 sixes and 2 fours. Arthington’s innings: 175-5.

A delighted 1st XI lifted the third division trophy and, with victory, also ended Upper Wharfedale’s staggering record of not losing a league match in four years, since their birth in division six of the Nidderdale League in 2017; some 70+ games. They have proven to be terrific opposition in all four matches against Arthington’s 1st XI and with the score now at 2-2, the rivalry looks set to continue.

At the ACG, far away from the events at Upper Wharfedale, the Arthington 2nd XI played out their own dramatic final. In a similar outcome to division three, the two best sides of the league campaign met in the final to decide the overall winner. Arthington had beaten Walton Park in their last meeting and so went into the game as slight favourites.

Walton Park won the toss and elected to bat first but were immediately faced with two of the division’s stand-out bowlers in Martin Hings and Joe Seaborne. Seaborne’s first spell was extraordinary, as he bowled 5 consecutive maidens. Hings, usually the master of economical bowling went for an alarming 13 runs from his 10 overs, but did claim the first two wickets of the innings early on to leave the score at 2-2; visions of last week’s semi-final victory against Thirsk no doubt entering the minds of the Arthington players after a remarkably similar start to proceedings.

It was the Arthington stalwart, Vince Greaves-Newall (10-4-23-4) who did the majority of the damage with the ball, taking the wicket of the Walton Park opener via a catch from Joe Seaborne at cover and a further three by virtue of hitting the stumps. Mohammed Adil also played a starring role in the first innings with two run outs and a wicket in a 6-over spell. Seaborne (8.4-5-18-1) was finally rewarded for the bowling in his first spell with an LBW in his second, before the second of Adil’s run outs ended the Walton Park innings at 111 all out.

What appeared a comfortable chase proved to be anything but for Arthington and while opening batsman Jo Nash remained entrenched at one end, wickets tumbled at the other as Umer Khan, captain Martin Dickinson and Vince Greaves-Newall all went cheaply taking the score onto a worrying 13-3. An excellent 67-run stand between Nash and Mohammed Adil steadied the ship, before Adil’s dismissal sparked another flurry of wickets including that of Nash for a determined 32, to set up a nail-biting finish at 92-6.

Gareth Meredith’s useful 12 helped the cause and in the 37th over, Martin Hings (10*) finally finished the match with a boundary and a final score of 114-7. The 2nd XI’s season finished with their toughest test yet, but they got through it and finished unbeaten in 2020. It is still unclear what awaits the 2nd XI in 2021, due to ongoing discussions and the possible movement of several teams in the league. Hopefully, a deserved place in a higher division will be theirs.

At the end of an unfortunately short but enjoyable season, Arthington finish on top as double champions. The final day of the season proved to be as exciting as it was extraordinary and arguably the greatest day in the history of the club to date. May there be many more successes in the years to come for Arthington Cricket Club.

As ever, the club wishes to thank all the match ball sponsors during this play-off fortnight.

1st XI match ball sponsor for the semi-final match against Walton Park: Colin Seaborne

2nd XI match ball sponsor for the semi-final match against Thirsk: Elizabeth Nash

1st XI match ball sponsor for the final against Upper Wharfedale: Naveed Andrabi

2nd XI match ball sponsor for the final against Walton Park: Jo Nash


Thanks also to Chris Pennington for the upkeep of the club website, Ken Clayton for scoring most of the 2nd XI matches, Malcolm Barraclough for his commitment to the 1st XI in scoring and umpiring throughout the season, all the various supporters we have had at our matches and to everyone who reads my long-winded match reports on a weekly basis. The regular kind comments are greatly appreciated. If you got to the end of this one then you deserve particular credit. Speak to you all again next season.

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1st XI Match Report v Upper Wharfedale (H)


A fine captain’s display with both bat and ball from Naveed Andrabi was not enough to prevent the 1st XI’s first defeat of the season against a strong Upper Wharfedale side, in a thrilling, back and forth contest.

Having lost an important toss, Arthington were put in to bat and endured heavy pressure from the Upper Wharfedale opening bowlers, who kept the run rate low. Kamrosh Khan succumbed to the final ball of the 7th over with the score on 12 to bring Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi to the crease for what turned out to be the duration of the Arthington innings.

Understanding the need to increase the scoring rate, Andrabi set about attacking the bowling and quickly overtook opening batsman Sajid Hussain. A surge in scoring and several boundaries from Andrabi took the score from a worrying 43-1 after 17 overs to a more reasonable 71-2 at the halfway stage, with Hussain falling for 9 in the 20th over.

However, as has been the way with some of Arthington’s innings in recent weeks, there was a significant collapse, including two wickets in consecutive deliveries taking the score to 88-5. But Arthington bat deep and Lawrence Barraclough, along with the ever-present Andrabi steered the innings in the right direction and combined for an excellent 105-run partnership; Andrabi being the main scorer and moving to his first century of the season in impressive style.

His innings of 126 not out was filled with exciting shots all round the pitch including several memorable straight drives into the fields and a delightful clip off his legs that soared over the boundary for one of 9 sixes. They say fortune favours the brave and so it proved in this innings as Andrabi was dropped on two occasions in quick succession, having just reached his 50. First a mistimed on-drive was put down at long-on before an Upper Wharfedale fielder succeeded only in parrying another chance over the boundary for six in the very next over.

The partnership ended in the penultimate over when Barraclough missed a straight ball and was bowled for an important 31, including 2 sixes. Wasim Malik and the unbeaten Andrabi took 13 runs off the final over to finish the innings on 207-6. A competitive total but perhaps 20 or 30 runs short of par due to the sluggish start and mid-order collapse.

Luke Seaborne’s opening spell of bowling was economical but runs came steadily from the other end and after ten overs the score was 41-0, 23 runs ahead of where Arthington had been at the same stage. Enter Andrabi, who broke the opening partnership with his very first ball via a catch by Umar Farooq at mid-on, before taking another wicket in the same over, this time LBW. Seemingly inspired by his display with the bat, Andrabi proceeded to take wickets in each of his next two overs, included a prized scalp of the in-form Upper Wharfedale number 4, to tilt the match in Arthington’s favour at 61-4.

In a much-improved second spell, Rafiullah Khan bowled out another batsman, before an excellent partnership for the 6th wicket evened the odds once again, with several Arthington bowlers feeling the pressure and giving away runs in expensive overs. Umar Farooq finally brought an end to the 62-run stand via a catch by Alex O’Neil at mid-wicket.

Yet that was not the end of the boundary hitting, as the Upper Wharfedale batsmen, having moved themselves within touching distance of victory, chanced their arms and continued their onslaught. Andrabi (9-2-49-5), with the help of an excellent catch by Sajid Hussain, completed his 5-for in the 38th over to round-off a superb individual display, but it was not enough, as the visitors sealed the win with a six over mid-wicket with eight balls to spare.

At the end of one of the most well-attended matches in Arthington’s recent history, the 1st XI were not quite able to back-up their captain’s heroics and fell to their first defeat of a strange season. Their rivalry with Upper Wharfedale, who now boast two victories to Arthington’s one, will no doubt go on with this match giving the 1st XI a taste of the sterner tests that await them in the higher divisions, should they get there.

Arthington finish seven points behind Upper Wharfedale in the table but still well clear of the other teams below them. The league now enters a semi-final stage with second place hosting third place for a place in the final, meaning that the 1st XI will take on Walton Park, who they are yet to face after the 8-game regular season. It is likely, if victorious, that they will be taking on Upper Wharfedale again in only two weeks’ time if the league leaders can overcome Raskelf.

Away from home, the 2nd XI continued their tour of North Yorkshire with a trip to the races against Thirsk. The hosts may have regretted their choice to bat first as only 18 overs were needed to bowl them out for 34. Joe Seaborne claimed his second 5-wicket haul in as many games with incredible figures of 9-2-13-5 and he was supported by Martin Hings with an impressive spell of 7-1-8-3. It was nice to see Umer Khan back in the wickets as well, as he finished off the innings by bowling out the number 11.

The reply was not without its hurdles, as three Arthington wickets fell from a largely upturned batting order, but Gareth Meredith (7), playing in an unusually orthodox manner, saw the team over the line; Vince Greaves-Newall (13) the only player to reach double figures before he retired with an injury.

At the end of the regular season, the 2nd XI can be extremely proud of their efforts, dropping only four points over the course of the campaign. Interestingly, they will play Thirsk again next week in the semi-final, likely away from home once more, owing to the 1st XI’s home tie.

Arthington CC wishes to thank the match ball sponsors for this week’s fixtures.

1st XI match ball sponsor: Ahmer Sadiq

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Martin Hings

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2nd XI Match Report v Bishop Monkton 2 (A)


A week of heavy rain did not dampen the spirits of the 2nd team who travelled to Bishop Monkton for the return match having played this team at home the previous Saturday. The forecast was set fair and having arrived at the ground the team were delighted to discover that the wicket and outfield were in pretty good shape. Captain Ken Clayton won the toss and without hesitation elected to bat, the decision no doubt informed by the previous week’s convincing victory against the same side.

Ken was in whimsical mood, elevating Faiyas, Martin Hings and Joe Seaborne up the order. With Jo Nash retaining his opening batting spot, he and Faiyas strode out onto the field. The unpredictable batting order was reflected by the weather, with the forecast set dry all afternoon, rain began to fall. Play commenced with opening bowler, running into a stiff breeze, dropping the ball short and Jo summarily dispatching it to the boundary. This shot of uncharacteristic authority by the usually watchful batsman set the tone for the rest of the innings. The only blip was Faiyas running himself out in the third over pushing for a second run to a shot played down to backward square. A strong, accurate throw brought his brief innings to a close.

Martin Hings was in bullish mood, stepping across his wicket and powering the ball through the onside with an array of commanding shots. As his innings progressed the ball was dispatched to all parts of the ground with an array of fine strokes including off drives, cuts and delicate dabs backward of point. With the fielders set deep, both batsmen took advantage, running singles and twos when their stroke play failed to penetrate the field.  Martin reached his half century when the team score was just passed a hundred. With a look of steely determination of a man on a mission he proceeded to smash the ball to all parts on his way to a superb maiden century. This significant milestone was met with much applause and Martin was visibly delighted with a smile brimming from ear to ear.

In the meantime Jo was accumulating runs and was on 63 when the partnership of 170 came to an end with Martin retiring having reached his century. Joe Seaborne contributed to a 3rd wicket partnership of 28 before being caught, having mistimed an expansive off drive.  The score was on 213 with 7 overs remaining. Enter Wasim into the fray, a batsman with no average having already amassed 154 runs in two matches without being dismissed. With foreknowledge of what Wasim was capable, the opposition fielders scattered to the boundary. His first delivery, a decent length ball was whipped off middle stump for the first boundary. It was a jaw dropping shot having been hit with such power and ferocity. He proceeded to make the ground look very small, hitting 14 boundaries in 28 balls with 8 of them clearing the boundary including one remarkable shot played with his weight on his back foot and sending the ball sailing into a neighbouring garden way beyond the boundary at long on. The innings finished on 316 for 2 with Wasim on 84* with Jo on 79*. The question everyone is asking is whether Wasim will have an average by the end of the season?

Bishop Monkton’s innings never really got going. Joe Sebourne was in fine form, bowling with pace and unerring accuracy. After sustained pressure, the opening batsman looped an easy chance to gully. This was the first in a five wicket hall including two plumb LBWs. While Joe was making hay Faiyas was quietly toiling away from the other end. His patience was rewarded by a high catch at first slip taken by Vince whose relief that it had come to rest in his outstretched clutches was palpable having put down a difficult chance earlier. Faiyas went on to take another wicket, this time bowled, giving him figures of 7 overs 2 wickets for 15 runs. Now entered the ambidextrous Vince into the attack who elected to bowl left arm over the wicket. Having taken two wickets with the last two balls of the innings the previous week he was now on a hat trick. The first ball was a beauty hitting the batman’s pad just outside the line of off stump – not out!   Imparting prodigious movement he immediately forced an error from the batsman popping the ball in the direction of Jo who gratefully accepted the chance having just moved to silly mid-off.  The innings was wrapped up by a regulation stumping from Dave off Vince’s bowling giving him the figures of 2 wickets for no runs of 1.2 overs.

This was a convincing a win as an Arthington team has achieved in its history and the 277 margin of victory equals the previous record set by the 1st Team in that memorable match against Pateley Bridge in 2017.

Thank you to Bishop Monkton for being so sporting by continuing the match in the most inclement weather. Cricket was clearly the winner and it just goes to show what is possible with determination and perseverance when the conditions aren’t particularly good.

The 1st team’s match unfortunately did not get underway with the opposition deeming the wicket unfit to play on. Not to waste the day the 1st team proceeded to play a practice match on the very same wicket!

Thank you to Ken Clayton for sponsoring the 2nd team match ball.

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1st XI Match Report v Ripley (A)


At the beginning of this latest Saturday, it seemed unlikely that much cricket would be played at all. There was heavy rain in the build up to both matches but over the course of the day it held off sufficiently and meant that both Arthington sides could record excellent victories against their respective opponents.

The 1st XI travelled to Ripley; probably the largest outfield that they will play on this season. With it being his last match for the foreseeable future, Matt Moss was made honorary captain and won an important toss, electing to field first.

The Ripley innings never really had any great momentum to it, partly due to tricky conditions as well as the regular loss of wickets that they suffered throughout. Luke Seaborne and Ahmer Sadiq opened the bowling and the former was unlucky to not take at least one scalp during his wicketless spell. Sadiq (5-1-13-1) did make a breakthrough, dismissing the opener LBW but struggled a bit with the excessive new ball swing.

The first bowling change brought on Naveed Andrabi and he claimed the wicket of the Ripley number three, who had been living very dangerously up to this point. Finally, a catching chance went to an Arthington fielder as opposed to a vacant patch of grass and Umar Farooq took a good catch as the ball came over his shoulder.

Due to the bails being removed in the high winds, Rafiullah Khan’s wickets were slightly less spectacular than they could have been. The ball thudded into the stumps on two occasions in his excellent 9-over spell. His bowling was not only deadly but also extremely economical and he looked like taking a wicket every time the ball was pitched up. He ended his spell with figures of 9-4-11-2.

Umar Farooq got himself a wicket with an LBW but after that the batting became very defensive and it seemed that Ripley had lost all appetite for setting a total, sitting at only 80-5 after 32 overs. Then came a bold move from stand-in captain Moss, who brought himself on to bowl at one end and Kamrosh Khan at the other, both bowling off-spin, neither player having bowled any overs this season.

The change of pace turned out to be a masterstroke, as Moss claimed a wicket in his second over, two in his fourth and another in his fifth. After a few words to the batsman about the apparent lack of desire to post a meaningful total, Moss enticed a big shot, which was sliced to Kamrosh Khan at point for a simple catch. A similarly aggressive shot was attempted for Moss’ second wicket, the ball striking leg stump after making no contact with the bat. Alex O’Neil then took a terrific sliding catch at mid-on in the same over to give Arthington their eighth wicket.

Khan also took a wicket after finally getting one to straighten onto the line of the stumps and hit the batsman on the pads for an LBW, before Moss rounded off the innings by dismissing the opening batsman, who had batted the entire 37.2 over innings for 40. With wickets falling around him, he eventually gave in to temptation and only succeeded in picking out Ahmer Sadiq at mid-off with his aerial straight drive. Ripley all out for 89.

Arthington reached the target without too many scares. Blame for the three wickets that were lost in the reply can largely be put at the feet of the batsmen. Sajid Hussain made ten runs before clubbing a short ball straight to a fielder at cover and Kamrosh Khan, who had played exceptionally well to reach 49, including 7 fours, tried one inventive shot too many and scooped a ball behind him straight into the waiting hands of a Ripley fielder. With the scores level, Naveed Andrabi’s attempts to hit the first six of the game fell embarrassingly short as he was easily caught without clearing the in-field. It was fitting that Matt Moss (11), at the end of his seven years with Arthington, was there at the conclusion of the match, as Alex O’Neil hit the winning runs in only the 18th over.

Despite not quite being quite at their best, Arthington still managed a 20-point win, thanks largely to some excellent captaincy from Matt Moss, whose insight, enthusiasm and cricketing skill will be missed in future matches. Next week, the 1st XI host Spofforth at the ACG.

Arthington 2nd XI played Bishop Monkton at home and recorded a similarly emphatic victory. Bowling first, all four bowlers managed two wickets apiece, with Vince Greaves-Newall recording particularly impressive figures of 3-1-6-2. The fielding was also impressive, featuring two fine catches from Dave Howard and Matthew Clough and a run out apiece for Mohammed Faiyazuddin and Wasim Malik, restricting the visitors to 94.

In reply, Jo Nash made 32, Martin Dickinson 29 and Wasim Malik a quickfire 23, finishing the innings with 16 runs from three balls. In an odd piece of scheduling, the 2nd XI play Bishop Monkton once again in their next match, this time away from home.

Arthington CC wishes to thank the match ball sponsors for the latest round of fixtures.

1st XI match ball sponsor: Alex O’Neil

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Martin Dickinson

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1st XI Match Report v Rainton (A)


It was a day for the middle order and bowlers to shine for Arthington as they secured another fine victory on a gloomy day away at Rainton.

Had Rainton not been bottom of the league, Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi may have thought twice about batting first, following another successful call at the toss, but such has been the formula for success of late there were no such thoughts. Yet his optimism looked to have been ill-founded after only a few overs, as a lively opening stand of 29 ended when Kamrosh Khan was out LBW for 16 and Arthington then collapsed to 60-5 in only the 13th over, with the first four batsmen all reaching double figures before promptly losing their wickets. Slow left-arm spin did most of the damage, claiming the scalps of Sajid Hussain (13), Naveed Andrabi (15) and debutant Umar Farooq (12).

However, with the current strength in the Arthington 1st XI batting line-up, things were not quite as gloomy as the grey skies suggested. Rafiullah Khan and Ahmer Sadiq formed a magnificent 6th wicket partnership of 141, taking the innings all the way into the 37th over before Khan finally fell, caught behind. His exciting knock of 62 was far from chanceless though, in fact he gave the Rainton fielders four chances to dismiss him with lofty, aerial shots before a catch was finally taken by the wicketkeeper. His excellent innings included 7 fours and 2 sixes.

Sadiq, on the other hand, played flawlessly, until an LBW in the final over saw him fall just seven runs short of a century. After a composed start, he accelerated impressively and was soon sending the ball to all parts of the boundary, including one enormous blow onto the pavilion roof. His score of 93 came in good time and contained 11 fours and 3 sixes. After 40 overs, Arthington finished their innings on 236-8.

In the very first over of the reply, Umar Farooq (6-2-30-1) took his first Arthington wicket with a beauty; a ball that started on leg-stump, swung in the air to middle and then jagged off the pitch to clip the top of off. An almost impossible delivery that would have dismissed many fine batsmen. When fellow opening bowler Luke Seaborne pictured claiming his 100th Arthington wicket, it is unlikely he would have imagined a catch by the wicketkeeper taken at short mid-wicket, but that’s exactly what happened in the very next over, when a leading edge looped high into the air and Andrew Dowson scampered from his position behind the stumps to take the catch.

There began a mini revival after the early breakthroughs with a quick 31-run stand, before Seaborne (5-2-15-2) claimed his second wicket in even more bizarre circumstances; the batsman, through his shot too early, diverted a ball that was sailing harmlessly down the leg-side off the back of his bat and onto the stumps.

Following a chest-high no-ball that ended up reaching the boundary, Naveed Andrabi took a wicket with the first legal ball of his spell; a vicious delivery that found the edge of the bat and the waiting gloves of Dowson. With this loss of their top scorer for 29, that signalled the last of any real Rainton resistance.

Andrabi went on to take a wicket in both of his next two overs; sending a bail flying with a pacey delivery before a catch looped up to a well-placed Ahmer Sadiq at deep cover to leave him with terrific figures of 4-1-18-3. At the other end, Rafiullah Khan managed a wicket and three maidens from his excellent four over spell, giving the impressive Andrew Dowson his third catch of the game behind the stumps and the Rainton tail was comprehensively lopped off by Hamza Mahmood (3-0-14-3) with the help of a sharp slip catch by Seaborne, a fantastic yorker and a length ball that kept low, clattering into middle stump. Rainton all out for 91.

After a shaky start, Arthington were able to coast to a comfortable victory thanks to an outstanding middle-order partnership and their usual high standards of bowling and fielding. The 20-point win allows them to maintain their perfect start to the season in division three. The 1st XI wishes to thank Malcolm Barraclough for umpiring in both innings and Ken Clayton for scoring the match. Next week they have another away fixture against Ripley 1st XI.

Sadly, the Arthington 2nd XI fixture against Ripley 4th XI did not take place due to a concession. Their next game is at the ACG against Bishop Monkton.

Thanks also to Chris Pennington, our match ball sponsor this week.

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2nd XI Match Report v Spofforth 2 (A)


Following the disappointing news that Arthington 1st XI’s opponents had conceded, an opportunity arose for the 2nd XI to receive full coverage of their demolition of Spofforth 2nd XI in a match that showcased some fabulous individual performances.

Arthington captain Martin Dickinson won the toss and, in glorious conditions and the prospect of an excellent batting pitch, opted to bat first.

Yet things did not start well for the visitors, as they lost opener Jo Nash in the very first over to a catch at slip. Dickinson and Umer Khan bided their time and absorbed the best of the Spofforth bowling without moving the score along all that quickly. It wasn’t until after the first drinks break at 18 overs that the innings began to gain real momentum; the batsmen opting to play more aggressively and move the score in the right direction.

Unfortunately, this change of approach proved the undoing of Dickinson, who feathered the thinnest of edges behind to the Spofforth wicketkeeper to make the score 50-2. The fall of the captain’s wicket brought Wasim Malik to the crease alongside Khan and together they formed a terrific 116-run partnership for the third wicket.

Despite seeing the majority of the overs to this point, Khan was actually beaten to his half-century, as Malik punished any bad bowling with ruthless efficiency. In fact, when Khan was finally dismissed for exactly 50, following a catch at long-on, Malik had already reached 76 and showed no signs of slowing down. Khan’s excellent and disciplined fifty was his first for Arthington and included 3 fours.

Gareth Meredith had a brief innings but wasted litte time before being caught behind. This left Malik and Vince Greaves-Newall, sporting some very garish mustard-yellow pads, to take on the remaining overs. In typical fashion, Malik brought up his century with a six and followed that up with two more in consecutive deliveries. The field was spread far and wide at this point but could do nothing to prevent the onslaught from Malik, who peppered the nearby fields with maximums. As the dust settled at the end of the innings, Malik departed for an unbeaten 132, including 9 fours, 10 sixes and some fine running between the wickets. Greaves-Newall, whose one-handed straight drive for six towards the end of proceedings will live long in the memory, was also unbeaten on 15 at the end. There was some sympathy for Tom Mitchell and Joe Seaborne who had both spent the entire innings padded up ready to bat, but with quick scoring required the captain chose more aggressive options. Arthington: 244-4 from their 40 overs.

The Spofforth reply seemed a difficult enough task to begin with, but once Joe Seaborne and Martin Hings had finished their opening spells, it had become virtually impossible. Hings was first to strike when the opening batsman inexplicably swung to the leg-side as the ball clattered into the stumps. Seaborne then set up the chance of a hat-trick with the final two balls of his next over. His first wicket came about as the result of a fine inswinger and left the umpire in no doubt once the ball had been stopped by the batsman’s pads. The second was a catch at mid-off by Martin Dickinson.

Although the hat-trick did not materialise, that was not the end of the wicket taking from the opening pair. Gareth Meredith took a catch at mid-off for Hings’ second wicket before both openers rounded off their spells with a caught and bowled apiece; Seaborne’s a particularly fine one-handed grab. Seaborne finished with fantastic figures of 6-2-9-3 and Hings with an even more remarkable spell: 7-2-5-3.

With the score at an incredible 19-6, there was a brief lull in the fall of wickets as change bowlers Mohammed Faiyazuddin and Vince Greaves-Newall found their stride and a 26-run partnership followed. But soon after, 45-6 became 48 all out, as the Spofforth lower order capitulated. Greaves-Newall (4-0-12-1) broke the partnership with the help of Meredith at long-off, who held a difficult, high catch near the boundary. Faiyazuddin (5.3-3-13-3) then made short work of the remaining batsmen after catches by Greaves-Newall and Hings and a long-range stumping by Dave Howard, capping off an outstanding 196-run victory.

The result sees Arthington keep their spot at the top of the division, despite playing a game less than their three closest rivals. Next week, the 2nd XI have their first home fixture of the season when they take on Ripley at the ACG.

Unfortunately, Arthington 1st XI’s match against South Kilvington did not take place, owing to the opposition conceding. The 20 points gained means that the 1st XI still have maximum points from their first four fixtures at the top of division three. Next week, they travel to Rainton.

Arthington CC thanks Dennis Nash for sponsoring the 2nd XI match ball this week and Ken Clayton for his excellent work with the pen as scorer in this week’s match as well as several others this season.

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1st XI Match Report v Bolton Abbey (H)


It’s all looking good for Arthington Cricket Club at present, as both the 1st and 2nd teams sealed comfortable victories in their respective fixtures in the latest round of matches.

At the ACG, Arthington hosted Bolton Abbey with whom the points were shared last season, following one win apiece. On this occasion, Arthington largely controlled the match and won by 102 runs; their largest margin of victory of the season so far.

Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a slightly damp wicket and outfield, with clouds in the sky and generally favourable conditions for bowling. The Arthington batting line-up looked quite formidable with batsmen all down the team sheet and the team welcomed back Sajid Hussain to the position of opener.

Kamrosh Khan got the ball rolling with a stylish yet short-lived 14 before being caught and was shortly followed by Hussain who edged behind to the wicketkeeper. This brought Naveed Andrabi to the crease and he immediately got into his groove, losing the new ball in a hedge from a towering six from his very first scoring shot. Having ridden his luck on 25 after a dropped catch in the covers, Andrabi went on to score 81 excellent runs, including 5 fours and 6 sixes.

Things were not going quite so well at the other end, as a couple of Arthington batsmen came and went cheaply. Rafiullah Khan stemmed the flow of wickets with a nice knock of 38 runs. Despite starting slowly to get his eye in, his innings quickly gathered pace and he soon began finding the boundary; five times in total including 2 sixes.

Alex O’Neil also managed two maximums in his 12-ball score of 18 and, with nine wickets down, Andrew Dowson and William Sparling managed to make use of the entire 40 overs, with Dowson scoring 3 fours from the final over to finish on 13 not out from only 8 balls. Arthington’s first innings score: 214-9.

The chase looked well and truly on after six overs and the first sanitiser break; the score having raced onto 43-0. However, in the first over after the break Ahmer Sadiq took a nice catch at cover to dismiss the dangerous opener for 33, from the bowling of Luke Seaborne (6-1-24-1) and from that point onwards, the required rate only ever increased. Naveed Andrabi bowled economically to build the pressure but without reward and was unfortunate to see a catch put down at second slip. Not only did Seaborne fail to take the catch, but, in deflecting the ball, succeeded in damaging a rather tender area of Matt Moss as well.

The change bowling of Rafiullah Khan did the real damage for Arthington. Taking his first wicket in his very first over with a catch behind by Andrew Dowson, Khan proceeded to take a further five and secure the 1st XI’s third consecutive five-wicket haul. Khan’s many middle-order victims were dismissed in a variety of ways including a caught and bowled, a great catch by Khamrosh Khan at backward point, a high ball grabbed by the ever-reliable Alex O’Neil at mid-on and a spectacular, yet completely unnecessary swan dive by Ahmer Sadiq, fielding close in. Khan ended the match with fine figures of 9-3-17-6.

The innings was wrapped up by Sadiq (5.3-1-31-3) with two quick wickets all of his own work; a caught and bowled and a clean bowled to end the Bolton Abbey resistance. All out for 112 in the 30th over.

Given the nervy start to the fielding innings, Arthington fought back well in the middle overs to regain control. There were great performances from several individuals with bat and/or ball and also from every player in the field, which kept things tight and inevitably forced mistakes from the batsmen.

Arthington 1st XI are now sitting pretty at the top of division three after three matches, having secured the maximum 20 points in all of their matches so far. Next week they host South Kilvington at the ACG, in search of a repeat performance.

Fresh from their by-week, the Arthington 2nd XI had a great day out, playing away at Rainton. It is fair to say that they outclassed their opponents; dismissing Rainton for only 49 runs before making short work of the total in 18 overs.

The dangerously consistent Martin Hings (11-7-11-3) reaped the rewards of his economical bowling and was helped by Joe Seaborne (7-2-11-1), Mohammed Faiyazuddin (8.5-4-17-4) and Vince Greaves-Newall (4-1-9-2). Only one wicket fell in the chase with Jo Nash (32) scoring the bulk of the runs. The result takes the 2nd XI well clear at the top of their division. Next week they travel to Spofforth.

Arthington CC thanks the match ball sponsors for this week’s round of matches, Dave Howard and Matt Moss, who will be taking his winning match ball with him to Wales at the end of the season, following his many years at Arthington.

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1st XI Match Report v Knaresborough Forest (A)


Following last week’s triumph at home to Raskelf, the Arthington 1st XI travelled to Knaresborough Forest; the other side in division 3 that was relegated last season. In an entertaining game at a great location for recreational cricket, Arthington ran out comfortable winners once again.

The 1st XI captain, Naveed Andrabi won the toss and elected to bat first. This decision looked like it may have backfired as both openers, including last week’s star man with the bat Kamrosh Khan fell cheaply. But Andrabi and Hamza Mahmood (15) brought Arthington back into the match with a 37-run partnership and the former would go on to make an excellent 60, including 9 fours and 2 sixes, before missing a sweep and being trapped plumb in front of his stumps; an easy decision for the umpire.

At number five, debutant Rafiullah Khan’s innings was particularly exciting. He started cautiously, but soon found his timing and began dispatching balls all around the ground to the boundary. His score of 72, the highest of the match, came in just 52 balls and featured 7 fours and 3 sixes, before he was deceived by a clever, slower delivery and bowled. Throughout the innings the extras flowed and by the end were the third top score, finishing at 44. There was still time for another late cameo from Luke Seaborne, whose 23 came at more than a run a ball and included 2 fours and 2 sixes. The run out of Will Sparling on the final ball of the innings left the other 1st team debutant Joe Seaborne (7) the not out batsman and meant that Arthington were all out for 241 from exactly 40 overs.

In a slightly changed bowling attack, brothers Joe and Luke Seaborne opened the bowling together for the first time and kept things very tight, conceding only 23 runs from the first 10 overs with the added bonus of a wicket. This allowed Naveed Andrabi to take over the baton with the pressure very much on the home side to up their run rate. However, in a devastating spell of seam bowling, Andrabi dismissed three Knaresborough Forest players in very similar fashion by disturbing the top of the stumps and followed that up with another wicket, this time via a catch taken at mid-on by Luke Seaborne.

After his success with the bat, Rafiullah Khan took a few overs to get into his rhythm but then ended his spell with three consecutive wicket-maidens, finishing with three wickets for 19 runs from his six overs and taking the important wicket of the opposition opener for 49. There was still an opportunity for the tail to wag though, and it did so to great effect before the Knaresborough Forest captain took on one big shot too many to be well caught on the long-on boundary by Alex O’Neil off the bowling of Luke Seaborne (10-2-33-2).

The 10th wicket stand of 39 was the second highest of the innings and took the match into the penultimate over, before Naveed Andrabi wrapped up his five-for by unseating the bails once again to finish with an impressive 9.1-2-42-5 to add to his 60 runs with the bat. Knaresborough Forest all out for 168.

Despite being frustrated at times by mistakes in the field, Arthington’s high-scoring in the first innings and economical bowling in the second saw them achieve victory by a margin of 73 runs. It was particularly pleasing to see some new recruits turning in excellent performances at the start of their respective journeys with the club. The 1st XI’s next match is at home against Bolton Abbey.

The Arthington 2nd XI did not have a fixture this weekend.

Arthington CC would like to thank Andrew Dowson for sponsoring the match ball.

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1st XI Match Report v Raskelf (H)


The beginning of the 2020 season could not have come soon enough for Arthington, with players eager to take to the cricket field once again following the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on recreational sport. Both teams produced fine displays to come away from their matches victorious to add to the existing euphoria of simply being able to play cricket after a long and restless wait.

The 1st XI faced a visit from relegated Raskelf at the ACG and fielded a strong side. Despite early attempts by the weather to put a dampener on proceedings, the match began on time with Raskelf winning the toss and putting Arthington in to bat; one of the easier decisions they will have this season.

A new-look opening partnership of Kamrosh Khan and Lawrence Barraclough began positively, but difficult batting conditions soon claimed the first of several victims as Barraclough, on his return to Arthington, mistimed a straight drive into the air and was easily caught for 12. An excellent 69-run partnership for the second wicket between Khan and Matthew Moss (22) laid a solid platform, on which Naveed Andrabi (20) and Khan built further to leave Arthington on a very healthy 143-2 after 25 overs.

However, a wicket in each of the next three overs soon made things tense, as the home side slumped to 153-5; opener Khan among the victims, finally losing his wicket for a stylish and at times explosive 88, which contained 6 sixes and 7 fours. Kevin Braithwaite and debutant Hamza Mahmood each made double figures to steady the ship before an almighty collapse of the middle to lower order saw four wickets fall for only nine runs, leaving only numbers 10 and 11 at the crease, both on 0, with six overs remaining.

A cameo by Luke Seaborne of 30 not out, as exhilarating as it was unlikely, was ably supported by Will ‘The Wall’ Sparling and the final pair took the score over 200. While the latter did not score any runs in their 34-run stand, he determinedly blocked out several overs from Raskelf bowlers to enable Seaborne to punish some bad deliveries with 3 sixes and 2 fours at the other end. Final score for Arthington: 221-9.

Raskelf’s reply seemed to be on track in the early stages, shortly before the first 6-over sanitiser break, with both openers picking up early boundaries from the bowling of Luke Seaborne and Umer Khan. This prompted action from Andrabi, who brought on himself and Ahmer Sadiq for the first early bowling changes. The decision immediately bore fruit, as Andrabi took two important wickets, first bowling a great delivery that moved off the pitch to take off-stump to dismiss the Raskelf opener, before inducing an edge and a low, diving catch at second slip by Seaborne to see off the number three.

With their highest partnership of the match behind them, wickets fell steadily and both Sadiq and Hamza Mahmood helped themselves to the remaining eight. Sadiq finishing with figures of 7.4-1-13-3 and Mahmood, who impressed with both bat and ball, 8-2-19-5. An excellent five-for on debut. Raskelf all out for 131.

Getting a good win capped off an already great day for Arthington, as cricket returned to this part of the world and motivated many plump men and women to don their whites. The 1st XI will look to take their solid performance into their next fixture against Knaresborough Forest.

The Arthington 2nd XI also had a good win away at Walton Park. Jo Nash, on loan for a season from the umpires association, top-scored with a well-made 45 at the top of the order. There were also sizeable contributions from Vince Greaves-Newall (32), Josh Rhodes (17) and new Captain Martin Dickinson (16). The final total: 168-7

With the ball, Martin Hings kept it very tight, conceding just 17 runs from his 11 overs and on debut, Joe Seaborne took a key scalp on his way to figures of 11-2-27-2. Vince Greaves-Newall also took two wickets and there were two run outs. Walton Park finished 26 runs short on 142-6. The next league game for the 2nd XI is in a fortnight’s time against Rainton.

Arthington CC wishes to thank the match ball sponsors for this weekend’s games, each of whom take their ball home with them in addition to getting a mention on the match report.

1st XI match ball sponsor: Kevin Braithwaite

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Mohammed Faiyaz

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1st XI Match Report v Birstwith 2 (H)


On the final day of the 2019 cricket season, even an unlikely league title for the Arthington 1st XI was still a possibility and the team did all they could to make the dream of a third successive promotion a reality by comfortably beating Birstwith to earn a 20-point victory.

Birstwith, who had their own agenda to consider at the opposite end of the table, decided to bowl first upon winning the toss, seeing that as their best chance to accumulate the most batting and bowling points, in the event of a defeat. This allowed last week’s successful 133-run opening partnership of Sajid Hussain and Naveed Andrabi to carry on where they left off. Things did start positively in this innings as well, though neither batsman played quite as fluently on this occasion, which may have had something to do with a pitch that was doing a little bit, including some inconsistent bounce; evident throughout the match.

Andrabi soon hit his stride though, with Hussain starting more sedately, and the score had reached 74 before the fall of the first wicket; a disastrous run out where the two batsmen were in complete disagreement over the possibility of a single. Andrabi set off and was two thirds of the way down the pitch before being sent back, with Hussain unmoved at the striker’s end. The resulting throw was taken at the stumps to leave Andrabi well-short of his ground. His 44 came in just 40 balls and included 5 fours and 2 sixes.

Hussain adopted the role of the aggressor once Andrabi had departed and began playing some more attacking shots to all areas of the ground. The fifth Birstwith player to bowl proved most effective and took the wickets of Matt Moss and Ahmer Sadiq, both of whom struggled to get going. Despite the pair being dismissed for 7 apiece, they formed healthy partnerships with Hussain as he swung the willow from the other end. However, just two deliveries after Sadiq’s dismissal, Hussain lost his wicket, finally missing the ball having come down the wicket to meet it. His efforts to get back in his crease were in vain, as he was easily stumped by the second of Birstwith’s wicket keepers on the day. Hussain made an important 71 in the context of the match from 101 balls, including 6 fours and 4 sixes.

Khamrosh Khan took over the mantle from Hussain and played excellently to remain not out, scoring at over a run a ball. With the overs running out and wickets in hand, the remaining Arthington batsmen did the right thing in wasting little time to get themselves in and instead trying to score runs in as quick a manner as possible. Andrew Dowson, Wasim Malik and Dave Cleasby all hit boundaries in their short cameos and there was even time for Akash Hazra to hit his only ball, the final one of the innings, for four over cover. Khan finished 38 not out from 30 balls, hitting 3 fours and 2 sixes in the process. Arthington’s final first innings score: 215-7.

After a bountiful tea interval, Birstwith began their innings and lost one of their opening batsmen in only the second over. In fairness to the batsman, he did his best to fend off a short-pitched ball from Naveed Andrabi, but it bounced more than anticipated and looped off his gloves straight into the waiting mits of wicket keeper Andrew Dowson behind the stumps. Having regained a little control of a free-flowing start with Andrabi, Luke Seaborne took the second Birstwith wicket. The batsman was induced into a straight drive that he did not really get hold of and Umer Khan took a straightforward catch at mid-off.

The third wicket partnership proved a tough nut to crack. In the end, the 71-run stand was broken by Wasim Malik in his first over, after several other bowlers had tried and failed. Having already hit two boundaries in the over and being one run short of an excellent fifty, the number four batsman clearly had visions of striking another one to the rope. However, his attempted drive only went upwards and after a long time in the air, the ball was well held by Malik himself, running across the square and catching as the ball came over his shoulder.

The innings had reached the 33rd over before the fourth wicket fell. In seemingly a final attempt to make a breakthrough, knowing that every wicket and bowling point was vital, captain Andrabi threw the ball to Umer Khan. Despite turning up on time and in the right place earlier in the day, Khan had somehow forgotten all his kit except his whites and so ran in to bowl wearing black trainers and his now customary headband, in a magnificent contrast, perhaps looking to emulate Arthington’s veteran hair specialist, Ahmer Sadiq. However daft he may have looked, what followed was nothing short of spectacular and surely one of the most remarkable spells of bowling ever seen at the ACG.

His first wicket came from only his third ball when the batsman lofted a drive to long-off and was caught by Khamrosh Khan. At the other end, Malik (7-0-31-2) took his second wicket with a full-toss that smashed into middle stump. Umer Khan then took two wickets in his second over, the first was a full delivery that clattered into the poles and the second an unfortunate inside edge that brought about the same result. A further two wickets fell in Khan’s third over. Having batted through the entire innings at this point, reaching 52, the remaining opening batsman took a swing at a ball that was full and wide outside off-stump. The ball skewed off the outside edge and somehow carried all the way to Matt Moss at deep point, who made his way across the undulating Arthington outfield to take a smart catch. Four balls later and Moss’ big brain struck again, having moved himself to backward square leg, where he felt sure a catch would come his way. Sure enough, the batsman flicked a leg-side full-toss straight to Moss, who didn’t have to move to take a simple catch and give Khan his fifth wicket.

In his fourth and final over, the 39th of the innings, Khan wrapped up the match, forcing an edge behind to wicket keeper Dowson, who took a fine diving catch at the second attempt. Birstwith all out for 169. Arthington won the match by 46 runs, with Umer Khan finishing with extraordinary bowling figures of 3.3-0-14-6, the 19th best ever set of bowling figures in the history of Arthington cricket club but surely the best in terms of strike rate; a wicket every 3.5 balls.

Having done all they could to give themselves a chance at going up, Arthington were ultimately left disappointed as both teams above them managed to win, meaning that they finish the season in third place. They will look back at several games earlier in the season where they suffered defeat, most notably perhaps the reverse fixture against Birstwith, where they were thoroughly outplayed. However, Arthington 1st XI can take pride in how they ended their season, winning their last 6 games played and not losing a match since mid-July.

Sadly, the Arthington 2nd XI suffered another defeat against their favourite opponents, North Stainley, who they faced for the fourth time this season. This match was a much closer encounter than their most recent clash, with North Stainley needing until the final over to clinch victory. Batting first, Arthington posted 141-7 from their 40 overs, Martin Dickinson 45. North Stainley reached 144-5 after 39.3 overs. Vince Greaves-Newall and Martin Hings with two wickets apiece and a special mention to Zameer Ahmed, in what could be his final game for Arthington, for bowling six maidens from his ten overs. Because division seven is a complicated one, splitting in two halfway through, it’s difficult to say exactly how well the second XI fared over the season as a whole. However, after a promising start with five wins from their first six games, they ended the season in disappointing fashion with eleven consecutive defeats, including two concessions, which is very unfortunate.

Arthington Cricket Club thanks the match ball sponsors for the final fixtures of the season:
1st XI match ball sponsor: Colin Seaborne
2nd XI match ball sponsor: Moortown Councillors

Thanks to everyone in and outside of the club for your kind words during the season regarding the match reports, I hope that you have enjoyed them and that I could paint a picture for those not playing or in attendance of the Arthington 1st XI’s experiences throughout the season.


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