Arthington successfully did the double over Rainton in their latest fixture at the ACG to move themselves within touching distance of second placed North Stainley at the top of division three. A formidable bowling performance, backed up by some sensible batting enabled the 1st XI to win with more than 12 overs to spare.

Heavy rain in the lead up to the match had brought the quality of the wicket into some question before the start of play and stand-in captain Sajid Hussain won the toss and opted to bowl first, something that Arthington had only done once all season up to this point. However, despite misbehaving, it was mainly additional bounce off the surface that was the problem for the batsmen, which reduced the likelihood of a bowled or LBW dismissal significantly. With the captain and usual opening bowler absent once again, an opening bowling pair of Luke Seaborne and Ahmer Sadiq brought back memories of their time together in the 2nd XI and bowled economically to start. Seaborne made an early breakthrough in the 7th over, holding a relatively straightforward caught & bowled opportunity. The change bowling took a little while to get their radar right and were the main contributors to the 15 total wides bowled in the innings. This meant that at the halfway stage, Rainton had pushed the score up to 66 for the loss of only 1 wicket.

Following the drinks break, the scoreboard pressure finally told. Mohsin Ali surprised the batsman with the additional bounce from his very first ball, inducing a simple catching chance at slip, which was gratefully clutched by Matthew Moss, before Hussain got in on the act; a top edge looped up into the air and was taken by Andrew Dowson as he sprinted in from his position behind the stumps. After a mini recovery in the form of a 31-run partnership for the fourth wicket, there was a moment of brilliance in the field. The Rainton number 3 who had been going along nicely on 41 runs smashed the ball down the ground to long-off. Under normal circumstances, an easy single, but Khamrosh Khan, Arthington’s fielding prodigy, had other ideas as he picked up the ball and launched a throw at the non-striker’s end, hitting leg stump halfway up, on the full, with the batsman nowhere in sight. There was much rejoicing.

From there, the fielding side dominated, as Rainton lost their remaining six wickets with overs to spare. Alex O’Neil made up for an earlier drop at long-on, possibly the first of his cricketing career to date, with a second superb run out. This time, the batsmen were attempting a second run, but O’Neil surprised everyone by throwing past the non-striker’s end straight into the stumps at the other, on the third bounce, with the Rainton batsman well short of his ground. Ahmer Sadiq (8-3-18-3) then returned for a devastating second spell, clean bowling two batsmen in consecutive deliveries before Khan took a good catch at point and, as if to prove that his fantastic run out wasn’t a fluke, threw the dismissed batsman’s stumps down as well, for good measure. Seaborne (8.5-3-17-2) then completed the fielding innings sandwich by bowling out the number eleven for the final wicket, having already taken the first. The final score: 149 all out.

After a particularly bountiful tea interval, the Arthington opening pair of Sajid Hussain and Matthew Moss began the second innings sensibly. However, their careful approach was undone by Moss, who invited the cover fielder to take the simplest of catches to end his innings and Hussain followed soon after for 20 runs, as he missed a straight ball, destined for leg stump, that cannoned into his pads for an LBW. Ahmer Sadiq and Khamrosh Khan then combined well in a 47-run stand for the third wicket until Sadiq was caught for 27. Khan was showing signs of his old form with the bat as he was joined by Alex O’Neil at the crease, but he played one aggressive shot too many and clubbed an uppish on-drive to the waiting fielder at long-on, who took a good catch. His 30 runs ended up being the highest score and included 5 fours. New man Andrew Dowson and O’Neil then put on a rapid 51 runs between them to win the match. Dowson scored 5 fours in his 24 not out and Alex O’Neil was delighted that the lowest scoring shot from his score of 29 was a hastily run 3. He also struck 5 fours and one huge six over the tea hut. Arthington reached their final score of 151-4 in the 28th over to win the match.

All eleven players contributed in this victory, whether with ball, bat or in the field, despite being put in the unfamiliar position of batting second. A successful day for the 1st XI was made all the better after learning that second place North Stainley had suffered a heavy defeat to league leaders Whixley, allowing the gap between 2nd and 3rd to be reduced by 16 points to a much more manageable 9.

Away from home, the 2nd XI played their return leg versus North Stainley 2nd XI and completed this season’s bizarre 3-match saga against them. Despite an improved performance with both bat and ball, Arthington’s 190 all out was not enough and North Stainley sealed back-to-back victories in their 29th over with a score of 192-4. Martin Hings (47) and Gareth Meredith (37) were the main contributors with the bat and Hings also took two wickets along with Mohammed Faiyazuddin.

In the next round of matches, the 1st XI hope to extend their latest unbeaten run against South Kilvington, although there is the small matter of the Barrett Cup semi-final against Upper Wharfedale before then. The second team hope to end their losing streak at home against Thirsk.

Arthington CC thanks the match ball sponsors for this week’s matches.
1st XI match ball sponsor: Kirkstall Councillors
2nd XI match ball sponsor: Reward Financial Group ACC Logo