Arthington rue missed chances as champions triumph

Arthington travelled to last season’s league champions Darley in their latest league fixture, looking to build on the narrow victory from the previous weekend. Their opponent’s had lost their opening encounter and bounced back in some style to beat the Arthington 1st XI comfortably, though the away side will look back with some regret on several dropped catches as well as more failures with the bat. Thanks to Ken Clayton for his report on the match below, as well as for scoring the fixture.

Darley won the toss and elected to bat on a good-looking wicket and weather set fair. It was a steady spell of bowling from the Arthington openers Naveed Piran and Umar Farooq without troubling Darley’s opening batsmen Rob Nelson and Adam Copeland a great deal.

With the wicket not offering much assistance for the quicks, Captain Naveed Andrabi opted for an early introduction of spin as Rahul Khode replaced Piran from the top end after eight overs. 

Khode used the slope to good effect with excellent line and length to restrict the scoring rate but without causing too many problems for the batsmen. Farooq too bowled with a tight line and length but damaged his hand stopping a straight drive and requested a rest with Piran taking over from the bottom end. This immediately paid dividends when Nelson flicked a ball to square leg where Farooq took a great catch low down, adding to the pain in his damaged hand in the process.

Chances were, however, few and far between for the Arthington bowlers. Unfortunately, those that did come were not accepted with an attempted drive off Khode looping into the covers only for Sadiq making ground to get to the ball but failing to hold on to the catch. Several other opportunities in the slip cordon and another in the outfield were also spurned over the course of the home side’s innings.

Farooq came back into the attack and at this stage the Arthington bowlers appeared to be taking control of the game as the run rate had dropped from five an over in the first seven down to two an over in the next 23.

However, with only one wicket down and Farooq and Khode having completed their spells Copeland and Jim Grange were obviously confident of upping the ante and proceeded to dispatch the remaining bowling to all parts of the ground with 168 runs coming off the last 15 overs, the vast majority of those coming in boundaries on Darley’s small playing area.

After Copeland departed for a creditable 43, having top-edged Hazra’s first ball long hop, Darley’s overseas player Larry Audain entered the fray and continued the assault on the Arthington bowling. Grange was eventually caught by the one safe pair of hands, those of Farooq, for an impressive 84 and Audain finished on 38 not out. Mohammad Hamid also contributed a quick fire 27 with Darley finishing on 247 for 5.

Amid the flurry of runs, Naveed Piran did most of the damage with the ball for Arthington, taking four of the five wickets. Arthington felt that this total was still an achievable target on such a small ground with a lightning outfield and having successfully chased a total only one week prior.

The two Khans opened the batting with Captain Andrabi showing confidence in the ever-improving young Umer given the chance after a good knock in the 2nd XI the previous week. However, the task was not made any easier when Kamrosh attempted to pull the fourth ball of the opening over from Michael Beecroft, the ball ending up clattering into the base of the stumps.

Skipper Andrabi came in at number three and immediately showed his intentions with a four and a six off Kabir Bashir’s first 3 balls. After a more controlled spell of batting and with the score on 60 in the 13th over, disaster struck again. A moment of indecision between batsmen attempting a quick single led to Andrabi being run out at the bowler’s end. 

Darley then astutely brought on their spinners, Furniss and Nelson, who gradually throttled the life out of the remaining Arthington batsmen with tight bowling backed up by excellent fielding. The remaining opener, Khan, was the next to be dismissed having made 20, followed immediately by Umar Farooq who failed to add to the score. Wickets then came in pairs until a final wicket stand of 43 spared some of the away side’s blushes.

Only Arthington’s new recruit, Nathan Smith, responded with any belligerence and he finished up being the last man out with a superb knock of 79, including 8 fours and 6 sixes leaving Arthington all out for 168, coincidentally the same amount as Darley had scored off the last 15 overs of the first innings.

Darley showed why they are one of the top teams in the Nidderdale League but, hopefully, Arthington will learn from this defeat and come back stronger. The 1st XI’s next game is their first at home of this season, when they host Kirk Deighton at the ACG.



Arthington victorious after tough battle with excellent 9-man Crakehall

The first thing that stuck out from the 2nd XI’s second match of the season at the ACG was that their opponents, Crakehall, only had nine players. Despite this, the home side found it much tougher than their first match and, but for a late surge with the bat, could easily have been defeated in this tight contest.

The visitors won the toss and opted to bat first in sunny conditions on a well-prepared and batting-friendly surface. Though Crakehall began slowly, Arthington’s opening bowlers also failed to make any early inroads and the score steadily increased. The first wicket fell just before the drinks break as first change bowler Andrew Stoddart finally forced an error from the Crakehall number two when he ventured too far forward in missing the ball and was expertly stumped by Dave Howard.

Another 35-run partnership was formed and then broken, once again by Stoddart, whose excellent start to the season continued as he trapped the remaining Crakehall opener plumb in front for an LBW to take the score to 96/2, the away side in a strong position with their big-hitters now at the crease.

Crakehall’s number three, Matthew Kemp, looked in fine touch as he bludgeoned 8 fours and 5 sixes on his way to an unbeaten 79. Throughout the innings, batsmen took advantage of the short boundary and punished any poor bowling. Kemp was fortunate that he was not caught at long-off when Gareth Meredith charged in from the boundary edge, realising too late that the catch would have been a relatively straightforward one had he stayed exactly where he was. In the end, the shot went for four.

Wickets were hard to come by for Arthington, however, two more did fall to break the useful partnerships that the visitors had formed. First, Martin Finn was finally rewarded for his bowling efforts when the leg-stump was rocked back by a sharp delivery from the Arthington opener, who conceded only 26 runs in his 10 overs.

Mohammad Faiyazuddin also took a wicket, courtesy of an unusual catch by Vince Greaves-Newall at short mid-off, who allowed the ball to thud into his midriff before giving it the embrace that sealed the batsman’s demise. Wickets falling did little to curb the run-rate at the back-end of the innings, however, and Crakehall eventually finished their 40-over innings on 203/4. A very competitive total.

Arthington opened their innings with Andrew Stoddart and former captain Martin Dickinson. Dickinson was keen to make an impact and cement his place in the top order. He started promisingly by striking his first two balls for four through the off-side but was unfortunate to divert the third onto his own stumps, in attempting to repeat the feat.

Stoddart and Vince Greaves-Newall then combined excellently in their 79-run stand for the second Arthington wicket, Stoddart, in particular, accelerating the scoring nicely once he had got himself in with some lusty blows over long-on. However, the drinks break proved to be his undoing. In the first over after the short interval, he edged a ball behind to the wicketkeeper and had to depart for a well-made 37, including 5 fours and a six.

Mohammad Faiyazuddin was the new man to the crease, but both he and Greaves-Newall looked a little uneasy out in the middle, with as many balls being missed as struck the bat and when balls were hit they would often reach fielders despite huge gaps in the outfield owing to the opposition’s reduced numbers. Greaves-Newall did eventually pass 50, the first half-century of the 2nd XI’s season, which included 8 fours, one of which was a trademark one-handed blow into the leg-side. Shortly after, he was given out LBW for 56 from 86 balls, following careful deliberation from the umpire.

In the overs after the drinks break, the required run-rate had increased from five per over to seven and a different approach was required. Luke Seaborne, the long-term number 11 batsman for Arthington’s 1st XI had been transferred to the 2nd XI due to an injury that prevented him from bowling. He made his intentions clear from his first few deliveries, striking two fours and a three in a 12-run over that lifted some of the pressure off the home side.

Some changes in the field slowed Seaborne’s initial charge, though he and Faiyazuddin began rotating the strike effectively, taking full advantage of the two missing fielders and plundering singles when boundaries were not an option. More blows into the leg-side followed as Seaborne latched onto anything slightly off-target, reaching 39 not out in a hastily constructed innings from just 25 balls, including 5 fours and a six. Faiyazuddin, who also ended unbeaten on 39, hit the winning runs from the final ball of the 38th over with a four through the covers to give Arthington the seven-wicket win.

The victory means that Arthington remain unbeaten in the early stages of the season, though things may have been very different had Crakehall managed to field a full side. Credit must go to the nine players who did make the journey for making it a very enjoyable and good-natured match. The 2nd XI’s next fixture is an away trip to Kirkby Malzeard.

The club would like to offer its thanks to this week’s match ball sponsors for their support and generosity.

1st XI match ball sponsor: Ken Clayton

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Dave Howard