Arthington back on top after bowling over Dacre Banks

 

Following a weekend of rain that washed out the 1st XI’s previous fixture, Arthington returned to the field on a beautiful, sunny day in the picturesque village of Dacre Banks to turn in a ruthless winning display and regain their position at the top of the division two table.

All eyes were on the two captains before the match got underway and, after a lengthy exchange of pleasantries, the toss finally went in favour of the home side who, to the surprise of nobody, opted to bat first on what appeared to be a fine batting wicket and with clear, blue skies above.

Though the earlier assessment of the wicket was not entirely incorrect, there was still something in it for the bowlers as some variation in bounce was evident from the early overs of Arthington openers Naveed Piran and Umar Farooq. The Dacre Banks opening batsmen started well and survived the early onslaught until the eighth over, when Umar Farooq struck twice. Rahul Khode was relieved to take a sharp chance at slip having seen an earlier opportunity fly through his hands in the previous over and Farooq himself dealt the fatal blow to the number three batsman just four balls later as he rocked back the stumps.

The Dacre Banks number four was not able to repeat the half-century he amassed at the ACG in the reverse fixture and was instead bowled by Piran for a duck to take the score on to 27/3 in the early stages. The remaining opener and the latest Dacre Banks batsman to the crease then offered a period of resistance, which brought about a change in the bowling from Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi, which had an immediate impact.

It is fair to say that Luke Seaborne’s spell did not start all that promisingly with a leg-side wide and it seemed he was on course to bowl another before a single legal delivery had been bowled until the home side’s opener intercepted the ball with a leading edge and sent a simple catch to Naveed Piran at mid-on. After an inside edge went behind the stumps for a boundary three balls later, Seaborne conceded no further runs in his five-over spell, bowling four consecutive maidens.

At the other end, Akash Hazra also got in on the act and set up a rare hat-trick chance taking a wicket with both the final ball of his third over and the first ball of his fourth. Piran again assisted for the first wicket, this time at gully, and Naveed Andrabi took responsibility for the second moving to his right from his starting position at mid-off to hold on to a good, high catch. Sadly, the hat-trick did not materialise, but Hazra still finished with the day’s best bowling figures of 2 for 10.

After the impressive start to the first innings, Andrabi was keen to test his other bowling options. Eight bowlers were used in total and seven ended up with a wicket to their name. After eight overs without one, Ayoub Ahmadzai benefitted from some shrewd captaincy when an edge found its way to Rahul Khode at second slip, having only been stationed there the ball before. Arthington fielders continued to crowd the bat, but it was a freak dismissal that brought about the loss of the home side’s eighth wicket when a full-toss from Zain Muhammad that should have been dismissed to the boundary instead found the outside edge and was caught on its way down by wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson who, despite directly affecting only one dismissal, had an excellent game behind the stumps.

The Dacre Banks batting line-up had little more to offer and the innings was soon wrapped up in consecutive overs. Ahmer Sadiq, the eighth and final bowling option sent a ball clattering into leg-stump and, just when it seemed that Arthington’s scorer Ken Clayton may request a bigger scorebook, the Arthington captain’s final bowling change was to bring back Naveed Piran who needed just two balls to take the final wicket, that of the Dacre Banks number five who had batted well for his side’s top score of 21. Dacre Banks all out for 74.

Though the result seemed a formality, Arthington needed to ensure that they gained maximum points from the game and due to the opposition’s score being less than 100, the visitors could only afford to lose one wicket to achieve this goal.

Their ambition became a little less straightforward when Zain Muhammad lost his wicket in just the fifth over, the score having already raced on to 29. The Arthington opener played a poor shot to a straight ball and was clean bowled. However, the assured batting of Sajid Hussain and Naveed Andrabi saw Arthington reach the total without another hitch at the end of the twelfth over, Hussain top-scoring with 31 not out, including 5 fours, and Andrabi helping himself to 2 fours and 2 enormous sixes into the leg-side, one of which ended the contest when the scores were tied, on his way to an unbeaten 28.

Things are really heating up at the top end of the table. The 20-point victory moves Arthington into first place one point ahead of Killinghall who dropped a point against North Stainley. Alne are also in contention for the title having breezed past Bishop Thornton. Next weekend may see things become a bit clearer as second place Killinghall play third place Alne while Arthington host Bolton Abbey, one of only two teams to defeat the league leaders this season.

Special thanks to Ken Clayton for scoring the 1st XI game, once again. All Arthington members appreciate everything you do for the club.

 

Arthington suffer second defeat in low-scoring contest

 

Though their position at the top of the division seven table is practically insurmountable, Arthington’s 2nd XI were disappointed to come out on the wrong side of another interesting contest between the division’s top two sides at the ACG.

Upper Wharfedale won the toss and chose to bat first, a formula which tends to suit Arthington’s strong bowling side and Joe Seaborne and Martin Hings both made things difficult for the away side’s openers. It was Hings who returned the most impressive figures on the day, which seemed unlikely when his very first ball was struck for six. However, in his next 9.5 overs he conceded only six more runs in total. Not only that, he also took three wickets, twice unseating the bails and assisted by a catch from Seaborne for the third.

Things could have been worse for the visitors had a couple of controversial decisions not gone their way. First, the Upper Wharfedale opener appeared to deflect Joe Seaborne delivery from his pad onto his bat, serving up a catch at short mid-off. Inexplicably, the umpire and batsman were seemingly the only people not to notice. The division seven second-top scorer also survived an extremely reasonable LBW appeal before the finger was finally raised against him, this time an LBW brought about by the change bowling of Vince Greaves-Newall.

However, despite the controversy and after a run-out by Dave Howard the home side still found themselves in a very strong position with the score at 47/4. Martin Hings’ third dismissal, a further wicket by Greaves-Newall and one from the bowling of Umer Khan, assisted by a Martin Dickinson catch, seemed to have started a collapse, but an eighth-wicket partnership of 48 by the visitors helped them to a much more competitive first innings score.

Wasim Malik then made the crucial breakthrough, finally breaching the stubborn defences before helping himself to another two scalps via a catch behind by Dave Howard and wrapping up the innings by disturbing the timbers once again. The away side’s final two batsmen were unable to add to the score, leaving Upper Wharfedale all out for 123 after 38 overs.

Arthington’s batting faltered in reply, despite only requiring a little over three runs per over for victory, as they lost wickets at regular intervals with the top order showing no real signs of its usual resilience. Vince Greaves-Newall and Wasim Malik have both made match-winning knocks this season but neither managed it on this occasion, the latter scoring only one run before being bowled by the impressive Upper Wharfedale opening bowler. Arthington’s captain Martin Dickinson stuck around but had still not made it off the mark when he played the ball straight back to the away side’s change bowler.

In the latter stages of the innings, the required rate had climbed to four an over, but there was brief hope when Martin Hings joined Mohammed Faiyazuddin at the crease, the pair combining for 27 runs until Hings was given out LBW, missing a full-toss on the stumps. The ACG then witnessed some very questionable running between the wickets, in particular a bizarre sequence of events between Faiyazuddin and Joe Seaborne, who somehow managed to turn two runs into none with some extreme indecision. Faiyazuddin was eventually given out LBW, having made the top score of 22 on his return to the side following a broken finger. Last man Dougie Jones tried to scramble two runs to keep Seaborne on strike but was comfortably short of his ground at the non-striker’s end, ending the Arthington innings: 102 all out.

The defeat sees Upper Wharfedale gain some ground on Arthington yet, barring some catastrophic results in the next three games in which barely even a bonus point is scored, the 2nd XI look set to win the title. The rivalry between Arthington and Upper Wharfedale, started by the two clubs’ respective 1st teams has also been strengthened and indeed lengthened, as both sides claimed an away victory apiece this season. As things stand, it may carry on into the 2022 season if both teams continue to occupy the division’s top two positions in the table.

Next week, the 2nd XI travel to Kirk Deighton, hoping to match the 258-run victory of earlier in the campaign.

Arthington cricket club would like to thank this week’s match ball sponsors for their support and generosity.

1st XI match ball sponsor: Alison Dowson

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Joe Seaborne