Batting collapse causes Arthington defeat after promising start

After a comprehensive victory in their last league match, Arthington’s 1st XI were hopeful of another triumph when they travelled to high-flying Birstwith in division one. A lacklustre fielding display as well as an almighty batting capitulation dashed those hopes, however, as instead they were decisively beaten to remain at the back of the pack pursuing the runaway leaders.

Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi raised a few eyebrows when he won the toss and opted to field first. The decision looked to have backfired after the early stages when neither of the opening bowlers were able to make a breakthrough as the Birstwith opening pair survived 17 overs unscathed and reached 58/0.

It was Andrabi himself that proved the catalyst for a dramatic turning point in the match as the hosts proceeded to lose four wickets for only eight runs as their top order wilted away. Andrew Dowson assisted with a catch for the first wicket, a regulation dismissal at first glance although Dowson was not wielding the wicketkeeper’s gloves on this occasion and instead took the chance in the outfield.

Anwar Ul Haq then removed the home side’s other opening batsman by beating the bat and dislodging the bails with his wily leg-spin. Andrabi took a wicket in his next over via a catch by Naveed Piran and, not to be outdone, Ul Haq then matched the feat, again by hitting the stumps.

It was 13 runs until the fifth wicket but there was no let up from Andrabi who took wickets in four consecutive overs as the visitors continued to apply the pressure. The Arthington captain’s next scalp was all of his own making as leather hit the wrong bits of wood as far as the batsman was concerned. He followed that wicket with a fourth, this time with the help of Kamrosh Khan behind the stumps.

The pressure was getting to the home side, highlighted by a run out for the seventh wicket with the score on exactly 100, effected by Naveed Piran. However, there then followed some periods of resistance, largely thanks to an impressive innings of 70 from Birstwith’s Callum Halliday, batting at number 6. Where his teammates struggled, he succeeded and struck 14 fours in the rescue effort.

A brief but exciting cameo from the Birstwith number nine was ended by Anwar Ul Haq thanks to a Naveed Andrabi catch on the boundary to make the score 131/8 but another 38 runs were added for the ninth wicket leaving Arthington with the sinking feeling that they had let their opponents off the hook. When Halliday finally had his stumps flattened by Naveed Piran in his return spell, there were only a few overs left in the innings, but the hosts could not quite use them up as Piran struck again in his next over, again by rearranging the timbers, to bowl out the home side for 172: a much higher score than was expected after an impressive lower order recovery.

Birstwith conceded only one run in the first five overs of the Arthington reply as they kept the opening batsmen glued to their crease. The pressure told for Sajid Hussain who was caught attempting to break the shackles without a run to his name. Umar Farooq followed shortly after, as he played an ill-advised stroke and was caught.

The two dismissals had brought Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi and Anwar Ul Haq to the crease. Having already taken seven wickets between them, they combined for 54 runs to settle the away side’s nerves and put them back in contention for the contest. A touch of over-confidence may have been the cause of Andrabi’s demise as he was caught on the boundary having accumulated 34 runs including 4 fours and 2 sixes.

Ul Haq continued to move the score towards the target and managed a 25-run stand before Nathan Smith was the latest Arthington player to feel aggrieved at a questionable LBW decision and was forced to depart for ten. Rahul Khode and Naveed Piran then both provided catching chances for the home side, the latter of which required an impressive catch by the bowler, Jack Sheridan, on his way to six Arthington wickets and once Ul Haq went the way of Andrabi by being caught on the boundary, a promising first half of the chase at 90/3 had disintegrated to 96/7.

There was little resistance offered for the remaining three wickets and in the 29th over, Arthington found themselves bowled out for 113, 60 runs short of their target but with nearly 17 overs to spare. It is not the first time that a normally strong batting line-up has underperformed but poor shot selection by members of the top order was the root cause of the problem this time around, which is particularly disappointing.

After the dust settled, there was little change in the table after this result which saw Birstwith remain in second and Arthington in fifth. The 1st XI’s next game is at the ACG when they take on league leaders Killinghall.

Special thanks to Ken Clayton for scoring the 1st XI match at Birstwith.







Faultless Arthington end losing streak at the ACG

It is a rare treat indeed when there is almost nothing to criticise in a cricket match, but such was the case in the 2nd XI’s latest fixture in division six against second placed Ripley at the ACG. After a relatively straightforward victory in the reverse fixture, the fortunes of both sides had changed somewhat, with Ripley shooting up the table at the same time that Arthington dropped, due largely to a string of four consecutive defeats.

The visitors were asked to bat first and their opening partnership showed some early signs of promise as it passed the 50-run mark unscathed. It seemed unclear from where an Arthington wicket was going to come as both Joe Seaborne and Martin Finn’s opening spells failed to breach the defences, the former particularly unlucky to see several edges fall safe. The change bowling of Andrew Stoddart then brought about what was thought to be the first scalp via a thin edge behind to wicketkeeper Dave Howard, but it was adjudged not out and the talented youngster at the top of the order got a life.

It was the other opening batsman that was first back to the pavilion, a wicket that flipped the match completely on its head as from that point Arthington never really looked back. The pair scampered a quick single and a wayward throw missed Stoddart at the bowler’s end and made its way to a vacant mid-off position. Delighted with the opportunity to score a second run, the Ripley batsmen set off once again but Luke Seaborne dashed round from his position in the covers, picked up the loose ball cleanly and threw down the stumps from a short distance away to leave the batsman yards from safety.

The breakthrough sparked a flurry of wickets that gave the hosts the edge after a difficult first few overs and Stoddart was the first of Arthington’s bowlers to get amongst them, returning another set of impressive bowling figures including four wickets. The first was an LBW given despite the batsman’s large stride down the wicket and this was followed soon after by the first rash shot played by the remaining Ripley opener, who danced down the pitch but mistimed his lofted on-drive skyward and picked out Tameem Wani at mid-on.

Trevor Lobley then took a smart catch at square-leg, though the batsman’s flick off his pads could not have been more ideally placed for the Arthington fielder, who did not have to move. Wani then took another catch at mid-on, though this was a lot harder than his first effort as he had to make considerable ground to his right but he made it look easy.

With a fine bowling spell under his belt, Stoddart withdrew and the attention turned to Vince Greaves-Newall whose spell had begun with some very bad luck as shots were hit skyward but landed safely or, in one instance, a simple catching chance was put down by Arthington’s captain Martin Hings at mid-wicket.

The spell was clearly leading to something very special, as it was left to Greaves-Newall himself to send another Ripley batsman back with an LBW. Just one ball later, the home side’s star all-rounder had a second wicket via a chunky edge and a good catch by Dave Howard behind the stumps. The field tightened and catchers surrounded the bat for the hat-trick ball which was prodded straight back into the waiting hands of Greaves-Newall for a caught & bowled: the 2nd XI’s second hat-trick of the season.

There was little left in the Ripley tank at this point as an exasperated and wicketless Joe Seaborne was replaced by Martin Finn for his second spell. A mistimed shot into the off-side hung in the air until Luke Seaborne sprinted smartly from his position at mid-off to take the catch, narrowly avoiding being tackled by Tameem Wani going for the same ball from cover having not heard the call. The final wicket fell as the final recognised batsmen swung for the boundary to try and add a few more runs to the total. A well-struck shot towards long-off picked out Seaborne once again who claimed another catch and his third dismissal of the afternoon. Ripley all out for 122 after 38.1 overs.

The fantastic efforts of Arthington’s bowlers and fielders had paved the way for their batsmen who needed to avoid the defeat they suffered while chasing a similarly sub-par total just one week prior. However, on a good batting wicket with a fast outfield, it seemed unlikely that history would repeat itself. In fact, Vince Greaves-Newall and Umer Khan both carried their bats and reached the target with eight overs to spare.

Greaves-Newall’s scoring continues to impress and he struck 10 fours in his unbeaten innings of 61. Though he was fortunate to survive missed chances at mid-off and long-off before reaching fifty, he played sensibly for the most part but was still able to pierce gaps and punish any loose bowling with blows through the off-side and several nicely timed strikes through mid-on.

Umer Khan was dropped at slip early on but it was a very difficult chance that included a slight deflection off the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Apart from that, he batted flawlessly and the only disappointment will be finishing the match with his seventh four through third-man to leave him on 49 not out, one short of what would have been a fine half century. Arthington receive maximum points for their ten-wicket victory.

It was a really encouraging display from the 2nd XI who bounced back emphatically from a very poor run of four straight defeats. Ripley have some good players in their ranks and their young opening bowlers certainly kept things tight. However, Arthington’s openers rarely looked like the run-rate was a problem, took the runs that were on offer and coasted home in style. Much of the praise must also go to the bowling and fielding efforts from the first half of the contest, which were vastly improved.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Nash for providing the teas at the ACG.