A vast improvement in the season’s weather did not have a positive effect on Arthington 1st XI’s performance as they slumped to a heavy defeat against bottom side Birstwith. Albeit with a significantly weaker side to previous weeks, Arthington failed to perform with the bat and subsequently gave themselves too much to do in the field, allowing Birstwith to win at a canter.

Captain Naveed Andrabi won the toss and chose to bat on what seemed a fantastic wicket for batting. However, poor shot selection and the odd moment of misfortune saw Arthington lose wickets at regular intervals to post a very modest total. There were several rays of hope amongst the gloom. Ahmer Sadiq batted well once again, top scoring with 33, and it took a good catch at mid-off to remove him. Matt Moss also showed promise on his league return but was dismissed in bizarre fashion. Having edged a ball that was dropped at second slip, Moss was busy practicing the right shot to have played and failed to notice the slip fielder approaching his stumps with the ball, nor the fact that he was out of his ground. Umer Khan, promoted up the order to number four, also showed great determination in seeing off the majority of arguably the opposition’s best bowler, who strangely ended up without a wicket to his name. Finally, batsmen number nine and ten, Matthew Clough (13) and Luke Seaborne (10), were two of only four players to reach double figures and helped secure an additional batting point, as Arthington were eventually bowled out for only 117 after 30 overs.

In reply, Birstwith only lost their two opening batsmen in reaching the target. Luke Seaborne took the only bowling wicket with a full toss that uprooted the off stump. Ahmer Sadiq also had two wickets correctly ruled out as no balls, as the full toss deliveries were over waist height when the batsman played them to Arthington fielders. The final wicket was a fabulous direct hit run out by Nouman Rafique, who threw from mid-off to the non-striker’s end to dismiss the remaining opener, shortly after he had passed his 50.

The defeat does not alter Arthington’s league position in third, but does widen the gap between them and the top two, who both won. To avoid a third consecutive league defeat, Arthington will need a repeat of their quarter final cup triumph away against top of the table North Stainley.

At the ACG the 2nd XI were involved in a much tighter contest against Whixley. It was left to the tail to score the bulk of the runs for Arthington, who batted first having lost the toss. Gareth Meredith was the top scorer with 32, which included 7 fours, before Zameer Ahmed (21) and David Howard (20) batted out the overs to conclude the innings at 157-8. The wickets were shared around between the Arthington bowlers in the second innings and there were two each for Ahmed, Mohsin Ali, Martin Hings and Vince Greaves-Newall. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough to clinch victory. Whixley reached the target in the penultimate over, finishing on 159-8.

Both teams will look to bounce back from successive defeats next week in their respective fixtures and the 1st XI, in particular, will need to significantly improve their performance if they are to have any hope of catching the top two sides and securing an increasingly unlikely promotion.

The club thanks the match ball sponsors for both of the week’s matches: Gipton & Harehills Councillors

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