In their latest league match in division three, Arthington 1st XI travelled to South Kilvington, hoping to secure their second win of the season against the same opposition, following their victory in the home fixture. However, things did not go to plan as, despite a strong bowling display, the Arthington batsmen found it tough going on a difficult pitch and were unable to chase down the target.

Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi won the toss and, owing to the recent poor weather and state of the wicket, opted to field first. Umer Khan opened the bowling and made an early breakthrough with a caught and bowled, but South Kilvington put together several decent partnerships to keep themselves on top, despite none of their batsmen achieving an overly significant score. Andrabi, who had brought himself on as the change bowler, made a huge impact by dismissing the remaining opener and then tearing through the middle order, with his first four wickets being caught by Arthington fielders. Wasim Malik, promoted to the first team due to several absences, also bowled well and made the key breakthrough of the South Kilvington top scorer. Umer Khan then took his second wicket before a 3-over spell from Sajid Hussain all but finished things off, as he took two wickets, the first of which a catch behind by wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson, his third of the match. Off-spin bowler Mohammed Adil must also get a mention for his economical 6 overs, which only went for 11 runs. Ultimately, it was fitting that Andrabi took the final wicket, clean bowled, to complete his 5-for from 9.3 overs, including four maidens for only 18 runs. An outstanding bowling effort. The final score: 155 all out from 37.3 overs.

Spirits were not high for very long though. Having restricted the opposition to what seemed a manageable score, the Arthington reply started disastrously, as the top order proved easy prey for the opening bowler and saw the score reach 10-3 in the early stages. Umer Khan and Naveed Andrabi, in an unfamiliar number five position, provided some resistance for the fourth wicket in a 40-run partnership, before Andrabi was well caught for 27. Alex O’Neil and Akash Hazra then came and went, without ever getting going, to leave the score on a perilous 73-6. But there was still a ray of hope, amongst the gloom, in the form of Wasim Malik, who played in his usual exciting and aggressive manner to push the score quickly in the right direction. Malik struck a solitary four but 4 sixes in his quickfire 30 runs, before finally being caught and bowled and exposing the Arthington tail, with 36 runs still required for victory and only three wickets remaining. Khan, who had remained at the crease for some 30 overs then felt the need to accelerate, with overs running out, but succumbed almost immediately, trying to play a shot over a fielder on the off-side but failing to get the required elevation or power and serving up a simple catching chance. His valuable contribution of 36 was the top score of the Arthington innings and included 6 fours. The number 10 and 11 batsmen did not trouble the scorers, leaving Abdul Bhatti stranded on 5 at the other end. The final score from the innings: 127 all out from 35.4 overs.

With the 28-run defeat, their fifth of the season so far, Arthington slip to fourth place in the table and now must rely on two teams above them slipping up, in addition to winning all of their remaining games, in order to have a realistic chance at promotion. Despite an encouraging bowling and fielding display in this match, the absence of several of this season’s key batsmen for the 1st XI, combined with a difficult batting surface and some good bowling, seemed the main contributors to the outcome of the match.

However, there was hardly any time to reflect as the team needed to pick themselves up in time for their Barrett Cup final match against Whixley the very next day; separate match report to follow. The 1st XI’s next league match is against Spofforth, who helped provide such an entertaining and closely fought contest earlier in the season.

There was further disappointment at the ACG, as the 2nd XI suffered their fifth consecutive defeat at the hands of Thirsk. Batting first, having won the toss, Arthington made 144-9 from their 40 overs. Several players made starts in the innings but none went on to big scores, with the top contributors being Gareth Meredith and Zameer Ahmed, both scoring 22, and Jake Greaves-Newall, 21. Thirsk reached the target in the 30th over for the loss of four wickets. There was a wicket apiece for Dennis Nash, Martin Hings and Mohammed Faiyazuddin, who also got a run out. The 2nd XI look to end their losing streak next week away against Darley.

Arthington Cricket club thanks the match ball sponsors for both teams this week: Reward Financial Group

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