Arthington 1st XI’s latest match was against familiar opposition. Sessay, who they had faced twice in the lower division last season, had proven tough opposition and provided some close encounters. However, a very different picture was painted in this fixture, as the away side were blown away by the Arthington bowling display in a ruthless performance.

Sessay won the toss and opted to bat first on what seemed a decent pitch. Their innings started in the best possible fashion as the opening batsman struck the very first ball for six. However, that was about as good as it got for Sessay, as they proceeded to lose a wicket in the second over, a catch at point by Khamrosh Khan from the bowling of Naveen Ali, and never really recovered. Ali went on to take the second wicket as well and if the first ball was poor the second was arguably worse and yet somehow the result was two wickets, the second, a caught and bowled from a top edge, in an otherwise excellent spell of bowling. With his job done, Ali finished his spell with incredible figures of 6-4-4-2. Unfortunately, the remaining opening batsman for Sessay was struck at the top of his back by a throw from the field in attempting a quick single. Despite playing on for a couple of overs, he decided he was not fit to continue and retired hurt, not to return until the very end of the innings.

In contrast to the previous game, Arthington’s bowling options were seemingly endless, as the opening bowlers were replaced by the leading wicket takers for the club this season in Ahmer Sadiq and Naveed Andrabi. What followed were two devastating spells of pace bowling from the pair. Sadiq took a couple of overs to find his rhythm, but in his third bowled a double wicket maiden. The first wicket came via a catch by Andrabi and the second was a wickedly fast inswinger that the batsman failed to prevent hitting the stumps. Andrabi, at the other end, took no time at all to settle into his rhythm and after conceding no runs from his first over repeated the feat with his second but with the added bonus of a wicket. The ball looped up over the batsman’s head after he had top-edged a short ball and although wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson did his best to give the slip cordon a scare by juggling the ball in his gloves, he eventually took the catch.

Sajid Hussain replaced Sadiq (4-1-21-2) after four overs and continued the trend, bowling with incredible consistency and giving nothing away. His persistence was eventually rewarded in his third over, yet to concede a run, by hitting the top of the off-stump with a beautiful ball that jagged away slightly off the pitch. Andrabi then took a wicket in consecutive overs, both bowled by full and straight deliveries, to more or less end the Sessay resistance. Their score had gone from a respectable 34-2 after 14 overs to 44-8 after 22. Hussain ended his 5-over spell with superb figures of 5-4-2-1 but Andrabi was the stand-out performer in the Arthington bowling innings finishing with three wickets from five overs for the concession of only one run.

Umer Khan and Mohsin Ali then came on to bowl at what turned out to be the end of the Sessay innings. Ali took a wicket in his second over when the ball lobbed up to Sadiq at short mid-wicket before the opening batsman returned to the crease for the last wicket. However, after swinging at a few balls he was once again unable to carry on on a hot day and opted to retire hurt once more and thus end the innings. 77 all out.

The batting reply for Arthington, whilst brief, was not without incident. Andrabi wasted no time getting his scoring going and hit his second ball for six behind square leg with the first over going for 12 runs. But off the very first ball of the next over, he top-edged the promising female opening bowler to be caught straightforwardly by the wicketkeeper. Sajid Hussain was flying along at the other end and could only watch on as another wicket fell. However, no more would fall after that as Khamrosh Khan, following his fifty in the previous game, along with Hussain, saw the match to its conclusion. Hussain hit the final ball for six to not only win the match but also bring up his fifty, finishing on 52 not out, which also included 10 fours. The winning total was 79-2 from only 11.2 overs.

With this latest victory, Arthington continued their unbeaten run of good form. The Sessay team was barely recognisable from last season, where they finished runners-up and joined Arthington in being promoted to the third division, but they still needed to be beaten and Arthington accomplished that in excellent style, with the obvious highlights being the bowling performances of Ali, Sadiq, Hussain and Andrabi. Only three fixtures remain in the season and Arthington still have an outside chance of securing second place and their third consecutive promotion.

The Arthington 2nd XI were away at Pannal Ash. The match was their first for over a month, for various reasons, and saw the return of some familiar faces amongst this season’s regulars. Pannal Ash managed 223-9 from their 40 overs. Gareth Meridith starred with the ball with figures of 6-0-19-5 and Zameer Ahmed also bowled well for his 10-2-25-2. However, the total was too much for the 2nd XI as only two batsmen managed double figures in their 137 all out. Meredith scored 21 and Vince Greaves-Newall, on his return, a magnificent 84, including 7 fours and 7 sixes.

As ever, Arthington Cricket Club thanks the match ball sponsors for this week’s matches.
1st XI match ball sponsor: Moortown Councillors
2nd XI match ball sponsor: Mohammed Faiyazuddin ACC Logo