A fine batting display was the difference at the ACG as Arthington ran out deserved winners against Bolton Abbey. Some strong partnerships, as well as several fine individual performances with both bat and ball proved the key to success in an excellent match.

Arthington, who fielded a side with five changes from last week’s thriller at Spofforth, were put in to bat on a good wicket and made an excellent start to the innings. Sajid Hussain made his highly anticipated return to the side to form half of the 5th consecutive different opening pairing this season, however, one that was prolific and familiar last season. The openers put on 84 runs for the first wicket in reasonable time, before Naveed Andrabi was caught at cover for 37. Khamrosh Khan then contributed 19 to a 50-run partnership for the second wicket, falling once more to a catch as Hussain looked on. It was Hussain, who scored over 600 runs at the top of the order last season, that held the innings together nicely and late in the innings reached a fine century, Arthington’s first of the season, which included 15 fours and 2 sixes. A quickfire 20 from Ahmer Sadiq ended with an LBW before Hussain finally fell; caught off the bowling of Bolton Abbey’s very own Naveed for 109 from 113 deliveries. Arthington also welcomed Alex O’Neil back to the team and he showcased his usual destructive style to round off the innings, scoring 25 not out from 17 balls, including 3 sixes. The final score from the 40 overs: 233-5.

In reply, Bolton Abbey made a promising start, until they lost both openers to Andrabi in quick succession; the first caught behind by wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson, also returning after a week away from the side and the second, an LBW. The middle order recovered well and at one point had increased the score to 165-4, but some crucial wickets at crucial times from Sadiq (9.1-1-44-4) and Umer Khan, as well as a fine catch on the boundary from O’Neil, when a boundary seemed inevitable, pegged the opposition back. Andrabi returned to polish off most of the tail, completing his 5-for and finishing with figures of 9–1–34–5. Bolton Abbey fell 39 runs short of Arthington’s first innings total: 194 all out.

This week saw the welcome return of two key players from last season in Hussain and O’Neil, both of whom had missed the previous four matches and they ended up making large contributions in a good win for the 1st XI. Due to the miracle of scheduling, Arthington’s next game is an away fixture against the same opposition. We are left wondering whether a similar performance will allow the team to prevail or whether Bolton Abbey will return with increased determination and know-how to dent Arthington’s early promotion aspirations.

Away from the ACG, the 2nd XI travelled to Kirk Deighton. Bowling first, they restricted their opponents to 121-6, thanks to some good bowling (Wasim Malik 3-29, Dennis Nash 2-26) and, by all accounts, top class wicketkeeping from Dave Howard. Shabir Ahmed scored a majestic 70 as part of a controlled reply: 122-3. Arthington win by 7 wickets.

Thanks, as ever, to this week’s match ball sponsors:

1st XI match ball sponsor: Tim Taylor
2nd XI match ball sponsor: David Howard ACC Logo