Following back-to-back defeats in both league and cup two weeks prior and a rainy weekend of no cricket at all, winning a cricket match was becoming somewhat of a distant memory for the Arthington 1st XI. However, the team got back to winning ways in convincing fashion in their latest league match away at Ripley.
The pitch was easily the largest that the 1st XI have played on this season and the weather was excellent, which made for a pleasant but slightly draining affair in the middle. Word had obviously not reached the Ripley captain, prior to winning the toss, of Arthington’s fondness of batting first, as he decided to field.
Arthington’s opening pair of Sajid Hussain and Naveed Andrabi started tentatively against the Ripley opening bowlers, but soon found their rhythm. They combined for a good opening stand of 110 for the first wicket, before Hussain was eventually bowled for 33. Having found his scoring form in the previous overs, Andrabi finally hit the ball to the wrong fielder and was well caught for 78 runs from 74 balls, including 6 fours and 3 huge sixes, considering the distance to the boundary rope from the square. From the ashes of the previous partnership was born the next run-scoring effort from Andrew Dowson, promoted up the order to number three for this match, and the ever-effective Ahmer Sadiq. The latter played in his usual flamboyant fashion and was the main contributor in the 47-run partnership for the third wicket, scoring 39, including 4 fours and a six.
With wickets in hand towards the back end of the innings, the remaining Arthington batsmen played freely and, despite losing Khamrosh Khan for a quickfire 17, the total was eventually moved to its final resting place of 251-4. The innings showcased some fine running between the wickets, including several all-run fours and some excellent hitting. Andrew Dowson finished unbeaten on a well-made, although exhausting, 54 not out, including 5 fours; his first fifty of the season.
The Ripley innings never really got going due to wickets falling at regular intervals. Luke Seaborne took the first, following a good catch from Mohsin Ali at point and the change bowling of Sajid Hussain unsettled the wickets to dismiss the other opener with the score on only 25. Star fielder Ali proved pivotal in the third dismissal as well, holding on to a catch at short cover from the bowling of Umer Khan. Khan (5-0-26-2) struck again shortly afterwards, as the Ripley batsman took a swing at a wide one and edged to first slip, Seaborne, who took a good, head-high catch.
After a brief lull, the wickets tumbled suddenly as Ripley went from 67-4 to 69-7 in the space of two overs as Arthington captain Andrabi took his first wicket before some fantastic bowling from Ahmer Sadiq took the sixth and seventh scalps in the same over. The first was a slower paced ball that started well outside off-stump, so much so that the batsman went to leave it, only for it to swing violently back in towards him and unseat the bails. In contrast, Sadiq’s second wicket two balls later was an express delivery that beat the new batsman for pace, producing the same result.
The next two partnerships provided more resistance. Andrabi eventually broke the eighth-wicket stand of 38, once more hitting the timbers, before the spin bowling options of Matthew Clough and Mohsin Ali were employed to take pace off the ball. Unfortunately, this proved ineffective for Arthington, yet fruitful for the 9th wicket pairing, who played sensibly for their 30 runs, before Seaborne returned and struck from the third over of his second spell to finish with figures of 7-1-16-2. Having played in such a disciplined manner up to that point, the number ten batsman clearly had no confidence in the number eleven, and proceeded to slash at a ball outside off-stump from Sadiq (5.3-0-17-3), taking the faintest of edges and carrying through to Dowson behind the stumps to end the innings. Ripley all out for 137, resulting in a 114-run win for Arthington.
With the previously third-placed team’s defeat to Whixley, the 20-point victory moved Arthington back up to third place in the league table, still with a slim chance of promotion, provided some other results go their way in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, there was no game to report on for the Arthington 2nd XI this week, as they were unable to field enough players.
Arthington CC would like to thank the match ball sponsor for this fixture: Moortown Councillors.