Spectacular turnaround propels an inspired Arthington into the quarter finals

After the disappointment of losing their league match on the Saturday, the 1st XI licked their wounds and produced an outstanding performance to progress into the next round of the Atkinson-Swires cup to conclude their double-header against West Tanfield with honours even for the weekend.

Much like the previous match, Arthington ended up batting first, though on this occasion it was the captain Naveed Andrabi’s decision, having won the toss. Once again, the innings started badly when Sajid Hussain missed a full toss and was bowled without scoring.

Andrabi then combined nicely with Umar Farooq, scoring the bulk of the runs in their 46-run partnership. His innings of 31 runs ended with a soft dismissal and a simple catch in the covers, having struck 4 fours and a six in his knock, which only came about as a result of a dropped catch that was fumbled over the boundary edge on the leg-side.

Rahul Khode had had the misfortune of receiving a blow on the head courtesy of the Arthington pavilion, shortly before being summoned to the crease. He gave two early chances that were both put down but it was actually Farooq who perished first. Khode played a nudge into the leg-side and set off to the relative safety of the non-striker’s end. Farooq was perhaps a tad late setting off himself though it took a superb throw and direct hit from the West Tanfield fielder to see the back of the Arthington opener.

At drinks and the halfway stage, the home side had reached 74/3. After a brief discussion, it was decided that Khode was unfit to continue due to a possible concussion and was taken to hospital as a precaution. Thankfully, it does not appear to be serious, and he was even able to return for the latter stages of the match as a spectator.

His departure meant that there were two relatively new batsmen at the crease In Naveed Piran and Kamrosh Khan and while the former produced an important if subdued innings, at least by his usual explosive standards, the latter was soon trudging back to the pavilion having been caught behind.

Umer Khan soon followed, after his attempt to release the shackles and get himself off the mark failed and he was easily caught in the deep as his straight shot down the ground never had the legs to clear the boundary. Piran’s innings then ended in similar fashion to leave Arthington 115/6 though effectively they were seven wickets down at this stage with Khode not fit nor present to make a return.

There was then an unfortunate end to the brief innings of Ahmer Sadiq. New batsman Andrew Dowson had played a powerful drive down the ground. It was destined for a boundary until it clattered into the stumps and towards a West Tanfield fielder. Dowson was already well on his way, though Sadiq was late to react. However, such was the margin by which he was eventually run out, it may not have made a difference.

Luke Seaborne made his return to the 1st XI after a stint in the 2nds as a batsman and struck a boundary with his first ball, though perhaps not in conventional fashion as the ball took an inside edge, passed between the stumps and his legs and hurried to the vacant fine-leg boundary. However, the rest of his innings was much more assured and, in combination with Dowson, the pair added 43 runs in an unbeaten eighth wicket stand.

Seaborne managed three further fours and a six in his 29-run cameo that came off just 24 balls. The streaky first boundary was added to with a guided shot through gulley, a heave to deep mid-wicket a pull to square-leg and another that cleared the boundary and landed in the garden beyond. Dowson also kept the runs ticking and played a nice shot for a boundary over cover. The final batting pair managed 28 runs from the final three overs to leave Arthington on a more competitive score than they would have expected once the seventh wicket had fallen. 161/7 after their 40 overs.

Though the total may have been a touch under par, the subsequent Arthington bowling and fielding display could hardly have been better and the opening bowling pair of Naveed Piran and Umar Farooq immediately set the tone. While the latter bowled with a great deal of control and patience, Piran sent down several unplayable deliveries and looked like a man possessed, conceding only seven runs in his five-over spell that also brought about the first wicket when a full, swinging delivery unearthed the off-stump and sent it tumbling towards the slip cordon.

Having bowled with great discipline, it was important to maintain the pressure when the change of bowling occurred. Joe Seaborne stuck to the task impressively, starting his first bowling spell in the 1st XI since 2020 with two maidens and was unfortunate to have a straightforward catch dropped in the covers by Naveed Andrabi who shamefully moved himself to mid-wicket to try and avoid further embarrassment. Thankfully, only a couple of overs later, another chance was created and taken, this time by Luke Seaborne at mid-on when a firm drive was played straight to him in the air for the second wicket.

After the 22nd over, the score had reached 62/2 following the most profitable over of the innings so far but this had a less than positive effect on the batting side who promptly lost three wickets in consecutive overs to give Arthington the advantage. The introduction of Kamrosh Khan’s spin bowling proved to be a key moment as he made the first breakthrough thanks to a catch by Gareth Meredith, playing as a substitute fielder in place of Rahul Khode.

Meredith then assisted again with a great catch at mid-wicket from the bowling of Andrabi. The ball was fired to his right at pace but he did well to move around sharply and hold onto the catch. Khan then completed the trio of wickets with a clean bowled, having struggled earlier with his line.

Two overs later Khan took his third wicket, that of the West Tanfield spinner who had already sent a warning to Arthington when he had struck a big six to cow corner two balls earlier. On his second attempt at clearing the rope, however, he could only pick out Gareth Meredith who had been moved to that exact spot immediately after the maximum to plug the gap. Meredith made no mistake with his third catching chance of the match to complete a fielding hat-trick.

It was noteworthy, following the fielding fiasco of the previous afternoon, that all of the catches to this point had been taken by second XI players, so when Umar Farooq held on to a catch at long-on off the bowling of Joe Seaborne in his second spell, there was a collective sigh of relief, as whatever curse that had been placed on 1st XI fielders appeared to have been lifted. Seaborne finished his impressive eight overs with two wickets.

After 32 overs, the score had reached 99/7 and the visitors needed a hefty eight runs per over to secure the win. However, all hope of victory seemed to elude them when Kamrosh Khan took two wickets in as many deliveries to complete his five-fer and leave Arthington one wicket from the quarter finals. First Andrew Dowson effected one of the more straightforward stumpings he will have made, as Khan delivered the ball wide of the off-stump to bypass the oncoming batsman who made little progress in retreating to safety before the bails were off. With the very next ball, Andrabi made up slightly for his earlier drop by holding onto a catch in the leg-side to set up a hat-trick opportunity.

Though the hat-trick did not materialise, it took only five balls of Umar Farooq’s second spell to seal a home victory when the ball was struck firmly down the ground to Naveed Piran at long-on, who held on to a good catch. West Tanfield all out for 108.

The 1st XI will be pleased to bounce back from the clear disappointment of the earlier league match and did so in impressive style. The biggest difference was clearly the fielding, which saw seven of eight catching chances taken in the innings. Though the target that the Arthington batsmen set proved to be more than enough, it was only made so comfortable by a lower-order cameo from Luke Seaborne and Andrew Dowson and really needed at least one member of the top order to score more substantially to reach a par score. The bowlers then bowled very well to make sure that the match never got away from the hosts who progress to the next round by a margin of 53 runs.

Their opponents in the quarter final on the 19th June will be none other than Upper Wharfedale, following a truly frightening display by them in the last-16, in which they demolished division one leaders Killinghall by an incredible 307 runs. Arthington will need to ensure that all facets of their game are improved when they travel to Grassington if they are going to overcome their rivals of seasons past.

There are several people whom the club wish to thank after an eventful and ultimately enjoyable two days of cricket. Firstly, Ken Clayton who scored both 1st XI games, Sajid Hussain for arranging a hot biryani for teas during the cup match, Jo Nash for collecting said teas and Geoff Barker, who had only come along as a spectator, for transporting Rahul Khode to hospital following the unfortunate accident early in proceedings.