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