INCREDIBLE BATTING DISPLAY TAKES ARTHINGTON THROUGH TO THE NEXT ROUND OF THE CUP
At the third time of asking, the Barrett cup match between Arthington 1st XI and Thornton-le-Moor finally took place, after two consecutive washouts. Another cancellation seemed likely, as the rain began to fall just as the teams arrived at the ACG, forcing the covers to go back on before play got underway. However, the match did start on time and Arthington batted first in a reduced 16-over match, having won the toss.
Playing in his favourite format, Alex O’Neil opened the batting with Sajid Hussain and had already raced on to 20 before Hussain mistimed a clip off his legs to be caught at mid-wicket. This brought Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi to the crease and he, together with O’Neil, formed a partnership of 59 for the 2nd wicket, dealing mainly in boundaries. The score had reached 82 in the 8th over when O’Neil, who had earlier been caught off a no-ball, was finally caught at cover trying to nudge the ball for a single. After already striking 3 fours and 5 huge sixes in his innings, this came as somewhat of a surprise, and saw him depart for 48, one O’Neil-sized stroke away from a rapid 50.
Wasim Malik’s innings was short, but eventful. Striking his very first ball for a six, he followed this up by missing two balls in a row, the second of which hit the stumps. With the score at 88-3 at the start of the 9th over, Ahmer Sadiq strode to the wicket. By his own admission, Sadiq had been struggling to find his form with the bat this season, but the shorter format suited him perfectly and what followed was some of the best scoring the ACG has ever seen; Andrabi and Sadiq combining for an unbeaten partnership of 117 from only 8 overs. Although Andrabi survived a difficult chance on the boundary for a Thornton-le-Moor player, Sadiq played flawlessly, regaining immeasurable confidence after every delivery. His 71* from only 29 balls included 4 fours and 6 sixes. Andrabi had to settle for second place in the scoring stakes; his leisurely 69* coming off 34 balls and containing 2 fours and 7 sixes. The 16th over proved to be the most expensive, going for 29, and helping the final score from the 16-over first innings reach 205-3, meaning a required rate for the chase of a staggering 12.88 runs per over.
Despite a six and a couple of no-balls in the first over from the bowling of Umer Khan giving the opposition a ray of hope, Luke Seaborne’s first over was a double-wicket maiden, dismissing the number two and three batsmen, and more or less sealed Thornton-le-Moor’s fate. Both catches were taken at cover by man of the match Ahmer Sadiq, determined to follow up his incredible batting performance with a fine fielding display. The second dismissal, in particular, was a fantastic 1-handed effort. Seaborne finished with figures of 3-1-10-2. Not wanting to be outdone, Khan (3-0-21-2) took 2 wickets in the following over; Alex O’Neil held on to a catch at long-on and Khan himself baffled the batsman with a perfect slower ball to unseat the bails and take the score to 17-4 in the 5th over. At this stage, it had been several overs since Sadiq had done something spectacular and he must have been getting restless. Cue a shot to a vacant mid-off and Sadiq darting around from cover to pick up the ball one-handed and shying at the non-striker’s end, whilst parallel with the ground in a full-length dive. Needless to say, the ball clattered into the stumps and the batsman was short of his ground.
In total, Arthington used a further six bowlers to complete the remaining overs and one more wicket fell to the part-time spin of Alex O’Neil; stumped by wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson. At the end of the innings, Thornton-le-Moor were 82-6. Arthington won by 123 runs.
The victory takes Arthington 1st XI into the quarter finals, where they will travel to North Stainley. Hopefully, this match takes place at the first time of asking and, following this performance, Arthington must be confident of reaching the semi finals.