Arthington beat the rain to upset leaders in the damp

After the disappointment of losing their last match against Birstwith by a considerable distance, there was no respite for the Arthington 1st XI who hosted the runaway division one league leaders Killinghall at the ACG in their latest fixture. However, they turned in a fantastic performance to hand their opponents only their second defeat of the season after a blistering innings from the captain and some excellent bowling displays.

With the ever-present threat of rain, it was always likely that the weather would play a factor and so it proved, halfway through the first innings, that caused the match to be reduced to 37 overs per side. Killinghall won the toss and chose to field first, which is very common on a soggy, grey day so the decision came as no surprise.

Sajid Hussain and Umar Farooq opened the Arthington innings and survived eleven overs without incident and the score had reached 36 in the twelfth before Farooq received a nasty ball that rose steeply off the surface, cannoned into his glove, and carried to gully for the first wicket, the Arthington opener departing for 24 including 3 fours and a six. Three overs but only two runs later, Hussain followed suit, this time guiding the ball to gully via the bat.

Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi was joined at the crease by Anwar Ul Haq and the pair combined for 42 runs for the third wicket. In a repeat of the previous fixture, however, Ul Haq’s dismissal was brought about by a catch on the boundary, this time at long-off, as the middle order batsman attempted to clear the straight boundary for a maximum but found himself instead trudging back to the boundary edge himself having made 19.

At this point, the rain came down and the players left the field for a significant period. An early tea was taken as the rain continued to fall, in an attempt to save some overs and once the bad weather had relented, it was decided that 16 overs had been lost from the match, eight per side, and the game would become a 37-over contest.

Despite the need for a quicker tempo following the resumption, Andrabi and Nathan Smith still took some time to play themselves in before releasing the brakes. Smith was fortunate that a catching chance was put down at square leg, which allowed him to accumulate a 55-run stand with the skipper. It was Smith whose wicket was next to fall after attempting a heave down the ground a few overs earlier than was perhaps necessary. His attempt only found the fielder at long-on, who held onto the catch a few yards in from the boundary.

Naveed Piran did well to get the set Andrabi on strike with a few singles but after some indecision and hesitation another attempted single resulted in disaster as Piran was short of his ground and forced to depart. Alex O’Neil then watched the rest of the over from the non-striker’s end and took guard for his first ball only to find himself dismissed for a golden duck as the ball flicked off his pads and onto the stumps to continue his poor run of form.

The loss of two quick wickets and two potential pinch hitters seemed to flick a switch in Andrabi who became hyper-aggressive in his approach, bludgeoning balls to and over the boundary with impressive regularity. Though no area of the ground was really safe, the straight boundaries at both ends were taking most of the punishment from the Arthington captain. In his innings of 90, he struck 76 of those runs in boundaries including 7 fours and 8 sixes.

In the final over of the innings as he was nearing a century, another shot down the ground finally brought about the Arthington captain’s demise. The attempt to clear the boundary only picked out the fielder at long-off who held onto the catch. There was even time in the same over for Akash Hazra to be caught behind and for Rahul Khode to nudge a single to finish the Arthington innings on an excellent 201/8 after 37 overs.

After the calculators came out, the Arthington total was revised to 209 due to them playing the first 20 or so overs under the impression that it would be a 45-over match, so Killinghall would need 210 runs to win in their 37 overs at just under six runs per over from the outset.

Their reply got off to the worst possible start when the opening batsman edged the ball behind to wicketkeeper Kamrosh Khan, who took an excellent diving catch to his right, Naveed Piran the bowler. To their credit, Killinghall then dished out some punishment to Umar Farooq, who was replaced after only three overs and the visitors were well up with the required run rate. However, wickets were a very important factor and they lost their second in the ninth over, again to Piran and again via a catch behind; both openers were now in the shed.

While others around him had been struggling, the away side’s Joe Horne had no such issue with the conditions and with his team’s total only in the seventies, he reached his fifty, striking 10 fours in the process. He took a particular liking to Farooq and Anwar Ul Haq from one end both of whom ended their spells shortly after they had begun.

It was the bowling changes that made the difference as a promising partnership was developing for the visitors. Rahul Khode’s off-spin broke the partnership as a well-struck shot towards cow corner was careering towards the throng of spectators but was expertly intercepted by Andrew Dowson who made good ground to his left and took a smart catch.

Naveed Andrabi was the other change bowler and despite taking only one wicket in the match, it was the key wicket of Horne who had reached 55 in quick time. No other Killinghall batsman got going quite as well as their number three but he missed a straight ball from Andrabi that hit the top of the stumps, the Arthington skipper hitting the perfect length on the wicket.

The innings then became the Khode show as the Arthington off-spinner helped himself to the next three Killinghall wickets. First the wicketkeeper batsman played onto the stumps then the away side’s number seven was given out LBW to a ball that may have just been sneaking over the top before Anwar Ul Haq took a catch at backward point to give Khode his fourth wicket of the innings.

Andrabi was replaced by Naveed Piran for his second spell and after an edge streaked through third man for a boundary, the next ball clattered into the stumps for the eighth Killinghall wicket. Although the next over, bowled by Khode, went for ten runs it also brought about another wicket. A shot was nudged into the off-side by the away side’s number ten and he was called through for the run by the Killinghall captain. Sensibly, Anwar Ul Haq took aim towards the bowler’s end, despite being much closer to the other and his accurate throw found the waiting Khode who removed the bails.

There was no hanging around from Piran at the start of the next over, who ended the contest by finding the edge once again to give Kamrosh Khan his third catch of the innings. Killinghall all out for 146 giving Arthington a 63-run victory. After a defeat against Killinghall in the earlier contest, it was pleasing for Arthington to at least go equal with their promotion partners of the 2021 season. The visitors still sit comfortably clear at the top of the division one table and Arthington remain in fifth place but have closed the gap on the teams above them with the 20-point victory.

Next weekend, the 1st XI face bottom side Harrogate away from home.

Special thanks to Ken Clayton for scoring the 1st XI match at the ACG and to Alison Dowson for some spectacular teas, as ever.



Seven for super Seaborne sends seconds skywards

If the 1st XI’s win was impressive, the 2nd XI’s win was even more so as they produced the best performance of their season so far to thrash a Knaresborough Forest team that had sat above them in the division six table before play began. So quick was the victory, requiring just 25 overs in total, that the rain that affected many other matches in the league had no impact on proceedings whatsoever.

It seemed like the pitch would have plenty in it for the bowlers, so Arthington captain Martin Hings was happy to win the toss and bowl first, opting to open the bowling with himself and Joe Seaborne, a throwback to the opening pairing that had devastated many a batting line-up in division seven. Hings’ first over passed without incident but Seaborne took a wicket in the second after a ball looped into the leg-side and Umer Khan made good ground and held on to a fantastic diving catch at mid-wicket.

After a four form the first ball of his second over, the remaining deliveries were right on the money from Hings and the third produced a second wicket. A touch of seam movement meant that the ball evaded the remaining opener’s bat and cannoned into the top of off-stump diverting into Dave Howard’s shoulder behind the stumps to cause some brief confusion before it was established that the batsman had indeed been bowled.

With both openers gone, Knaresborough Forest tried to stage a recovery and the score crept up to 14/2 when the game went a little bit mad and within the space of six overs the score had become 15/8 as only one run was added at the cost of six home wickets. The key involvement in the massacre came from Joe Seaborne who took his second and third wickets in consecutive balls at the end of the sixth over, firstly with the help of a superb diving catch by wicketkeeper Dave Howard as an attempted inswinger held its line then nipped ever-so slightly off the seam and took the outside edge. It appeared that the new batsman offered no shot at the following ball which was a critical error once it moved from a leg-stump line and took the top of the off-stump; it was a stunning delivery.

Not to be outdone, Hings wanted a piece of the action and created a chance for Andrew Stoddart at slip via another outside edge, which was easily accepted by the Arthington all-rounder: a wicket maiden from the Arthington captain. Seaborne then matched the feat with a wicket maiden of his own and took his fourth wicket in the process, but before that could happen, a hat-trick ball caused some controversy when what appeared to be a very convincing LBW appeal was turned down by the umpire. Three balls later, Seaborne made sure of the batsman’s dismissal with a fantastic slower ball that outfoxed the batsman and hit the stumps once again.

Hings then let the side down by not taking a wicket in his next over and even conceded a run, but Seaborne continued to wreak havoc on the home side’s middle order and secured his fifth wicket with the fifth ball of his fifth over having also conceded five runs. Once again, the stumps were disturbed as another Knaresborough Forest batsman failed to keep out the Arthington bowler. Appropriately, several high-fives were also exchanged.

Hings made up for his wicketless previous over by getting back on trend with his next. He served up a tempting half-volley with which the batsman made a good connection but directed it only back towards Hings himself, who made no mistake with the catch and claimed his third scalp. The concession of four byes at the end of the over interrupted the constant flow of wickets, but Seaborne was not finished with his wicket-taking, though he required the assistance of Luke Seaborne on this occasion. The ball was played out to cover and the elder of the two brothers lunged forward and scooped the ball up mere millimetres before it hit the ground for another excellent catch in another near faultless fielding display from the visitors.

But at 21/9 and in the sort of trouble that gets you a week’s worth of after school detentions, Knaresborough Forest’s tailenders rallied and kept the Arthington bowlers at bay for four overs, which may not seem like a lot, but in the context of everything that had happened so far, felt like an age. The home side’s Gary Threlfall, batting at number ten, can be particularly proud of his efforts to reach 21 runs, nearly half of his side’s eventual total.

With the last ball of the sixteenth over, Seaborne’s eighth, the Arthington bowler picked up his seventh wicket with an LBW after the batsman missed a full-toss that was destined for the stumps. The umpire was in no doubt on this occasion and with the raising of the finger, the innings was ended for the home side: 46 all out.

Joe Seaborne’s incredible figures of 7 for 20 might have been even better had a couple of shots not reached the boundary through third man and fine leg in the last over, but they are still the joint sixth best bowling figures ever recorded by an Arthington player since the club’s records began. Unsurprisingly, they are also the best figures that he has ever produced personally. An incredible bowling effort.

Captain Hings was taking no chances with the weather and wanted to end the contest as soon as possible, so broke up the unbeaten 123-run pairing of the previous weekend, opting to pair Vince Greaves-Newall with Tameem Wani, who normally resides in the middle order. Umer Khan was demoted to number three instead. The move paid dividends as boundaries came off the first over, a brace of fours from Greaves-Newall.

The rate then slowed until the fifth over when Wani pulled the trigger and took 18 runs from the six balls. In the sixth over, Greaves-Newall was given out LBW despite appearing to hit the ball before it struck him in front of the stumps. Martin Finn the man with the itchy trigger finger on this occasion. Umer Khan then lost his wicket in the very next over to Gary Threlfall who, not satisfied with making half of his team’s runs also managed half of his team’s wickets in an excellent personal display despite Knaresborough Forest’s eventual defeat.

Luke Seaborne was the next man in and struck a four from his first ball. He then combined with Wani for a pair of singles, which brought the scores level before striking a shot wide of mid-on that also reached the boundary for a four to bring the match to a close with the winning score of 50/2. Wani finished unbeaten on a rapid 30 from 20 balls including 5 fours and a six.

The win takes Arthington back into the top two in the division six table. They also still need to play all six of the teams currently in the bottom half of the table so will fancy their chances at finishing the season well. However, their next match against seventh place North Stainley will be their first concern as it was against this opposition that they suffered their first defeat of the season in early June.