Arthington 1st XI saw their most recent match go right down to the wire against bottom of the table Bishop Monkton, but they managed to keep the opposition at bay and came out victorious in an exciting match where both teams ended up fielding only ten players.

With an almost unrecognisable 1st XI side taking the field, including only five regular first team players, Arthington were up against it from the beginning as they were put in to bat on a bowler-friendly surface. However, an unfamiliar opening partnership of Ahmer Sadiq and Kamrosh Khan got the innings off to an excellent start. The two combined for an opening stand of 84 before Sadiq finally fell for 32; playing around a straight delivery and therefore unable to protect his stumps. Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi’s stay at the crease was unusually short-lived, making only 14, but in-form batsman Andrew Dowson continued where he left off in the previous match a fortnight ago, this time in the number four spot, but could only look on as Khan did his very best impression of Sadiq and watched his stumps get toppled, having made an excellent 55, including 5 fours and a six.

Matthew Moss had missed the last few matches, although he showed no signs of being out of practice, forming a 37-run partnership with Dowson. The latter eventually succumbed to his favourite form of dismissal, bowled, for a well-made 33, which included 3 boundaries. Having ticked the score onto 175-4 and in doing so, securing maximum batting bonus points, Arthington proceeded to lose three wickets in quick succession, including that of Moss for 26, to leave the innings at a much more perilous 177-7. But David Howard, in as a replacement wicketkeeper turned batsman for this match provided a late surge in the run-scoring and his 22-run cameo, including 3 fours and one huge six, proved vital in pushing the final score to a tricky 206-8.

With only two regular first team bowlers available, the fielding innings looked like it may pose some issues and it began to look ominous with the score at 74-1; Andrabi having taken the only wicket up to that point. But Martin Dickinson and Matthew Moss proved themselves to be more than capable with the ball and made the next breakthroughs; Dickinson forcing the remaining opener to play the ball aerially to the hands of a grateful fielder and Moss sending the stumps backwards with a fiery, straight delivery.

At the halfway stage, Bishop Monkton were 83-3 with the game still very much in the balance. Moss (9-0-35-2) struck again via a catch from Andrabi, but the real damage was yet to be done as Ahmer Sadiq returned for what turned out to be a devastating second spell, crucially removing the Bishop Monkton number four for a well-constructed 46 runs, before taking the scalps of a further two opposition players. All three wickets came in familiar fashion for Sadiq, who required no outside assistance with his inswingers, unseating the bails on all three occasions. Whilst expensive, Sadiq’s bowling proved pivotal and he finished with figures of 10-1-57-3. The final wicket to fall was an inspirational run-out from Arthington newcomer Will Sparling, who retrieved the ball from just outside the circle and launched an accurate throw to a waiting fielder behind the stumps who took off the bails, with the batsman well short of their ground. Although Arthington were unable to take the final wicket, Bishop Monkton were also unable to reach the target, finishing an agonising 7 runs short. Final score, 199-8.

Despite not being quite as big an achievement as it first sounds due to bad weather putting pay to two recent fixtures, it has been a month since the 1st XI’s last defeat. Rather unexpectedly, both teams above them in the promotion race failed to win, meaning the hunt for an unlikely third successive promotion is still very much a possibility. Arthington will simply need to play as well as they can in their remaining games, to give themselves every chance.

Unfortunately, for the second week running, the 2nd XI were unable to field a side and were forced to concede their match against Whixley. With player availability being a rather key issue for the club at this time, it is hoped that both teams will be able to field a full side for their next matches.

Arthington Cricket Club thanks Moortown Councillors for their sponsorship of the 1st XI match ball.

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