A week of heavy rain did not dampen the spirits of the 2nd team who travelled to Bishop Monkton for the return match having played this team at home the previous Saturday. The forecast was set fair and having arrived at the ground the team were delighted to discover that the wicket and outfield were in pretty good shape. Captain Ken Clayton won the toss and without hesitation elected to bat, the decision no doubt informed by the previous week’s convincing victory against the same side.

Ken was in whimsical mood, elevating Faiyas, Martin Hings and Joe Seaborne up the order. With Jo Nash retaining his opening batting spot, he and Faiyas strode out onto the field. The unpredictable batting order was reflected by the weather, with the forecast set dry all afternoon, rain began to fall. Play commenced with opening bowler, running into a stiff breeze, dropping the ball short and Jo summarily dispatching it to the boundary. This shot of uncharacteristic authority by the usually watchful batsman set the tone for the rest of the innings. The only blip was Faiyas running himself out in the third over pushing for a second run to a shot played down to backward square. A strong, accurate throw brought his brief innings to a close.

Martin Hings was in bullish mood, stepping across his wicket and powering the ball through the onside with an array of commanding shots. As his innings progressed the ball was dispatched to all parts of the ground with an array of fine strokes including off drives, cuts and delicate dabs backward of point. With the fielders set deep, both batsmen took advantage, running singles and twos when their stroke play failed to penetrate the field.  Martin reached his half century when the team score was just passed a hundred. With a look of steely determination of a man on a mission he proceeded to smash the ball to all parts on his way to a superb maiden century. This significant milestone was met with much applause and Martin was visibly delighted with a smile brimming from ear to ear.

In the meantime Jo was accumulating runs and was on 63 when the partnership of 170 came to an end with Martin retiring having reached his century. Joe Seaborne contributed to a 3rd wicket partnership of 28 before being caught, having mistimed an expansive off drive.  The score was on 213 with 7 overs remaining. Enter Wasim into the fray, a batsman with no average having already amassed 154 runs in two matches without being dismissed. With foreknowledge of what Wasim was capable, the opposition fielders scattered to the boundary. His first delivery, a decent length ball was whipped off middle stump for the first boundary. It was a jaw dropping shot having been hit with such power and ferocity. He proceeded to make the ground look very small, hitting 14 boundaries in 28 balls with 8 of them clearing the boundary including one remarkable shot played with his weight on his back foot and sending the ball sailing into a neighbouring garden way beyond the boundary at long on. The innings finished on 316 for 2 with Wasim on 84* with Jo on 79*. The question everyone is asking is whether Wasim will have an average by the end of the season?

Bishop Monkton’s innings never really got going. Joe Sebourne was in fine form, bowling with pace and unerring accuracy. After sustained pressure, the opening batsman looped an easy chance to gully. This was the first in a five wicket hall including two plumb LBWs. While Joe was making hay Faiyas was quietly toiling away from the other end. His patience was rewarded by a high catch at first slip taken by Vince whose relief that it had come to rest in his outstretched clutches was palpable having put down a difficult chance earlier. Faiyas went on to take another wicket, this time bowled, giving him figures of 7 overs 2 wickets for 15 runs. Now entered the ambidextrous Vince into the attack who elected to bowl left arm over the wicket. Having taken two wickets with the last two balls of the innings the previous week he was now on a hat trick. The first ball was a beauty hitting the batman’s pad just outside the line of off stump – not out!   Imparting prodigious movement he immediately forced an error from the batsman popping the ball in the direction of Jo who gratefully accepted the chance having just moved to silly mid-off.  The innings was wrapped up by a regulation stumping from Dave off Vince’s bowling giving him the figures of 2 wickets for no runs of 1.2 overs.

This was a convincing a win as an Arthington team has achieved in its history and the 277 margin of victory equals the previous record set by the 1st Team in that memorable match against Pateley Bridge in 2017.

Thank you to Bishop Monkton for being so sporting by continuing the match in the most inclement weather. Cricket was clearly the winner and it just goes to show what is possible with determination and perseverance when the conditions aren’t particularly good.

The 1st team’s match unfortunately did not get underway with the opposition deeming the wicket unfit to play on. Not to waste the day the 1st team proceeded to play a practice match on the very same wicket!

Thank you to Ken Clayton for sponsoring the 2nd team match ball.

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