Farooq century takes Arthington to the top
Following a bye week and an impatient two-week wait for their next fixture, Arthington 1st XI showed no signs of a dip in their form as they turned in a formidable display against fourth place Burnt Yates to cement their position at the top of the division two table.
Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi had no hesitation in batting first upon winning the toss, on what appeared to be a batsman-friendly surface and the early signs in the first innings suggested just that. Though Sajid Hussain began tentatively, his opening partner Umar Farooq showed no such caution, freeing his arms on several occasions in the first few overs. The opening stand was therefore a fruitful one until it was broken by the run out of Hussain in the 13th over with the score at 67. Farooq had already passed his 50 by this point and had his sights set even higher.
He was joined at the crease by Naveed Andrabi, back in his familiar batting position of number three and the pair batted serenely in a partnership of 156. Farooq continued his onslaught with no area of the ACG being safe from his flashing blade, however, seemingly all too aware of the approaching milestone, it took a sequence of five singles for him to bring up his three figures. He was eventually stumped for 119 in the 34th over, having struck 20 fours and a six in his fantastic innings. His second century of an already impressive season with both bat and ball.
Incredibly, in the third wicket partnership of 39 that followed, Andrabi was only able to contribute a single run before he was dismissed, caught behind, for another good half-century. His 82 included 8 fours and 4 sixes. The reason for his apparent break in scoring had little to do with him, however, as Rafiullah Khan had entered the arena with only one thing on his mind: to swing and to swing big. In his exciting 16-ball cameo, Khan struck 7 sixes and four singles to reach 46. In attempting another monster six to bring up his fifty, Khan failed to clear the ropes and was caught at long-off, but his innings had ignited the contest and tilted the momentum firmly in Arthington’s favour.
Useful contributions from Andrew Dowson and Rahul Khode, who both made double figures at the back-end of the innings, took the score over 300 and there was even an appearance with the bat from Malcolm Barraclough after a slight selection issue, whose single allowed Dowson to be bowled out off the final ball. Arthington finished their innings on 307/7.
After Naveed Piran and Umar Farooq had both taken a wicket in their second overs to reduce the visitors to 13/2 in reply, the strategy of the Arthington captain was to attack. Yet the packed cordon, featuring at one point four slips and two gullies, did not assist in a wicket as the Burnt Yates third wicket partnership held firm. In fact, they increased the scoring rate to more than what was required as almost anything hit in front of square resulted in runs.
With the attacking field retreating to more conventional positions, the opening bowlers were withdrawn to be replaced by Andrabi and Luke Seaborne. However, both change bowlers saw their opening overs hit for runs, the batsmen relishing the decrease in pace. It was Seaborne that eventually won the short battle though, in just his second over, when the Burnt Yates number four holed out to a straight long-off position, where Naveed Piran took an important running catch.
Yet there was still a fair bit of batting to come as both the Burnt Yates opening bowler and wicketkeeper contributed handy runs with the bat alongside the ever-present opening batsman, who stubbornly remained at the crease, before Andrabi struck with an LBW and Naveed Piran, returning for his second spell, doubled his tally. And he didn’t stop there. In fact, once it seemed that the asking rate might be beyond them, Burnt Yates lost another couple of wickets, again to Piran, to make doubly sure.
Piran went on to take six wickets as he ripped through the lower order in clinical fashion, taking his tally of scalps for the season to 21. Andrabi popped up once more at the end to secure his second wicket, via Andrew Dowson’s second catch of the match behind the stumps, to end the Burnt Yates innings: All out for 236, leaving the unbeaten opening batsman, who had batted extremely well throughout, stranded on 84.
With the 20-point win and due to formerly first-placed Alne having their bye week this weekend, Arthington’s 1st XI move into the top spot as outright leaders of division two, with one more round of fixtures remaining until the halfway stage of the season. Two superb individual displays from Umar Farooq and Naveed Piran stood out, ably assisted by Naveed Andrabi and Rafiullah Khan, though everyone played their part in another good win.
Next week, the 1st XI travel to North Stainley to resume the rivalry of the 2019 season, which saw honours even after an away win apiece.
High-flying Arthington triumph again over nearest rivals
With the rivalry between the two clubs still fresh in everyone’s minds after last season’s exploits of their respective 1st teams, Arthington 2nd XI travelled to Upper Wharfedale in a crucial, top of the table clash in division seven. Captain Martin Dickinson elected to lose the toss and Arthington found themselves in the field for the first half of the match.
There was a terrific start to proceedings thanks to the already formidable opening bowling partnership of Joe Seaborne and Martin Hings. Seaborne began with a maiden before Hings went one better, taking a wicket with his very first ball via a catch at silly mid-off from Vince Greaves-Newall. Several overs later, Seaborne got his first wicket in very similar fashion to the first of the day, as Greaves-Newall held onto another catch at his close fielding position, taking the score to 34/2.
Two quickfire wickets shortly thereafter may well have gone a long way towards deciding the contest between the two teams, even in the early stages. Seaborne took his second thanks to a catch on the leg-side by Kevin Braithwaite, making his return to the side, before a stunning delivery from Martin Hings took care of the Upper Wharfedale number three for 19; the batsman had not yet failed to score at least 50 in all previous matches this season. According to several witnesses, the ball pitched outside off-stump and cut back sharply to strike the top of middle and unseat the bails, sending the batsman sheepishly back to the pavilion: 44/4.
Hings then took his third wicket of the match, once more disturbing the timbers and this was followed, shortly after, by a fantastic run out by Dougie Jones, whose throw from the boundary was a direct hit, finding the opposing batsman short of his ground. At this point, the opposition’s flock could easily have run to the hills, but a 61-run partnership for the seventh wicket frustrated the visitors; the Upper Wharfedale number six batted well for his 47 before Braithwaite, with his first overs of the season for Arthington, pulled off a caught and bowled to make the breakthrough.
With the door now very much ajar, Braithwaite struck again with an LBW before Seaborne returned for his second spell with another quick pair of wickets, both bowled, to wrap up the innings with nine balls remaining. First innings total: 146 all out.
Once again, the 2nd XI’s opening batting pairing of Jo Nash and Umer Khan got Arthington off to a good start and the score had reached 54 before Nash fell for 17. Vince Greaves-Newall found the change bowling of the Upper Wharfedale left-armer particularly difficult to get away and was eventually dismissed for six, seeing his season’s average plummet from 225 to 115.5 in the process. The impressive Khan followed, not long after, for a well-made 40, including 6 fours and a six, and Arthington were suddenly a little uneasy with the score at 70/3 after their good start.
But Wasim Malik and Kevin Braithwaite were seemingly unaffected by the scoreboard. Their 72-run partnership for the fourth wicket almost saw the 2nd XI home, with Malik hitting 3 fours and 4 sixes on his way to an unbeaten 45. Braithwaite was keen to end the innings in style but was caught out four short of victory for 26, having helped himself to 3 fours and 2 sixes along the way. Fittingly, it was Malik who hit the winning runs from the first ball of only the 28th over to give Arthington the victory, expertly shepherding the away side over the line.
With the second 20-point win of the weekend for Arthington, the 2nd XI move even further clear at the top of division seven and remain unbeaten for the season. Their run of difficult fixtures does not end there, however, as their next opponents at the ACG, Middleham, would have ended up in second position themselves, had it not been for a rare defeat this weekend.
Special thanks to Shoaib Khan and Ken Clayton for scoring the 1st and 2nd team matches. Their contributions are appreciated by everyone at the club.
Arthington Cricket Club is also grateful for this week’s match ball sponsors for their support and generosity.
1st XI match ball sponsor: Hunslet and Riverside Councillors
2nd XI match ball sponsor: Martin Hings