Arthington hold on against Alne to regain top spot

After the disappointment of the previous week’s defeat, Arthington’s 1st XI were pleased to return to winning ways, albeit in another tense clash against fellow promotion chasers Alne at the ACG.

After winning the toss, Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi opted to bat first and the regular opening pairing of Sajid Hussain and Umar Farooq made their way to the middle. Hussain, in particular, started slowly and it was some time before either batsman could find the boundary with any regularity. Dropped catches also played a factor in the early stages of Arthington’s innings as Hussain benefitted on several occasions from spills in the field.

After 14 overs and with the score on only 33/0, Alne’s opening bowler finished his only spell of the match with outstanding figures of just seven runs from his seven overs. Unbeknownst to the onlooking Arthington players at the time, he had picked up an injury and was not able to bowl any more overs in the match. A significant moment.

Once spin had been introduced at both ends the scoring rate increased slightly, as both batsmen latched onto any loose bowling and started finding the boundary. Hussain continued to apply a degree of caution in his approach but Farooq began to free his arms and, before he had clubbed his way to another Arthington fifty, was caught by an Alne fielder for 43, including 6 fours and 2 sixes.

Naveed Andrabi and Sajid Hussain put on 124 for the second wicket

Naveed Andrabi wasted little time in his innings and along with Hussain combined for a crucial second wicket partnership of 124, one of several impressive century stands that the pair have made in recent seasons. Though Hussain had begun playing more expansively after his careful start, he was still no match for Andrabi who helped himself to boundary after boundary, passing 50 in a flash and continuing on to 75 before being bowled by Alne’s fifth bowling option. The innings took Andrabi just 55 balls and contained 4 fours and 7 sixes, several of which were launched far beyond Arthington’s short, straight boundaries.

Naveed Andrabi misses out on a 3rd consecutive century against Alne

At this stage, the score had reached exactly 200 for the loss of two wickets in the 39th over and, with wickets to spare and licence to swing at the back end of the innings, Arthington wickets began to fall in quick succession. Hussain was finally dismissed for a well-made 82, holding the innings together from the top. He made up for his slow start with a flurry of boundaries in the latter stages, picking up 9 fours and a six before he, too, was bowled by Alne’s left-armer on his way to a five-fer. Naveed Piran, Wasim Malik and Ahmer Sadiq all managed one boundary apiece before they were each dismissed while neither Ayoub Ahmadzai nor Saaid Sufi could trouble the scorers in their first appearances for the club. Once the dust had settled, Arthington had reached 238/8 from their 45 overs.

After a tremendous tea interval, which featured the world’s finest coronation chicken sandwiches, it was Alne’s turn to bat. Their reply got off to the worst possible start as Naveed Piran trapped the opening batsman LBW for a golden duck and, in combination with Umar Farooq at the other end, the pair once again wreaked havoc. Farooq struck next via an edge to wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson and once more in his very next over, this time assisted by a superb catch by Naveed Piran at short cover. The ball was hit hard and low in front of Piran but somehow, falling forwards, he managed to scoop the ball up before it hit the ground to reduce the visitors to 16/3.

Piran then took over the mantle with the ball taking wickets in successive overs, both bowled, to further dent Alne’s hopes and take the score on to 28/5 at the end of the 13th over. An excellent start by the Arthington bowlers in stark contrast with the previous week’s performance, which had seen Whixley reach 74/2 by the same stage.

Naveed Piran sends one down on his way to figures of 3/45

After 16 overs, Arthington’s opening bowlers were withdrawn from the attack to be replaced by spin at both ends. However, the sting had still not been taken out of Alne’s batting line-up with their captain still at the crease, together with their aggressive wicketkeeper batsman at number seven. Both spinners were hit for 17 from their first two overs and while this was enough to see off Ayoub Ahmadzai, captain Andrabi persevered with Rahul Khode who, in turn, rewarded him with a wicket from the first ball of his third over, as he tossed the ball up invitingly and saw the ball hit skywards out to long-off to Andrabi himself, who took a straightforward but important catch.

Alne, though, were far from finished and showed just why they have the joint most batting points in division two this season. The away side’s number eight batsman came out and played extremely confidently for a run-a-ball 35, scoring the vast majority of the runs in a 47-run stand. The partnership was only broken by a complete running mix-up when Alne’s captain fended off a Naveed Piran delivery and had no desire to complete a quick single. The non-striker had other ideas and had dashed halfway down the wicket before being sent scampering back. His efforts to get back to his ground were in vain, however, as Piran intercepted the incoming throw and took off the bails.

Luke Seaborne was given the unenviable task of bowling his first spell of the match in the remaining ten overs and promptly saw a six clubbed back over his head in his first over. However, in his second, he delivered one of the key moments of the second innings to dismiss the Alne captain, who holed out to Naveed Piran at long-on, having made an excellent 65. There was still time for a little controversy when the away side’s number ten was given out caught behind when it seemed he had not managed to put bat on ball.

It had not been clear whether Alne would use an eleventh batsman and, had they not had a small chance of victory, they may not have done. Having injured his hand badly in the field, it was a courageous decision indeed for the away side’s last batsman, who it can only be assumed bats higher up the order ordinarily, to come to the crease. Though the overs were slowly ticking down, the final pair kept the runs flowing sufficiently to give themselves a chance in the final few overs. However, the penultimate over bowled by Umar Farooq conceded only two runs and left Alne requiring 25 runs from the final over for victory.

Umar Farooq’s 3/44 proved pivotal in the 2nd innings defence of 238

A six from Seaborne’s first ball gave them a glimmer of hope but the Arthington bowler made the necessary adjustments to take the match away from the visitors and with the fourth ball of the over also took the final wicket when the ball crashed into off-stump. Alne all out for 221 giving Arthington the win by a margin of 17 runs.

The much needed 20-point victory puts Arthington back on top of the division two table with a bit of breathing room, as their nearest rivals Killinghall suffered a defeat against Whixley, who seem to be having a late surge. Next week, the 1st XI travel to Burnt Yates.

Special thanks to Alison Dowson for providing such excellent teas and to Malcolm Barraclough for scoring the 1st XI’s second innings having raced back from the 2nd XI’s game in which he played.

Arthington bounce back with a bang after blip

Arthington’s 2nd XI turned in a clinical display following their defeat against Pannal Ash a week prior and brushed aside a Spofforth team in devastating fashion. 2nd XI captain Martin Dickinson won the toss and chose to field first in the hope that Arthington’s strong bowling attack could ease any burden on their slightly weakened batting line-up.

In the absence of Martin Hings, Akash Hazra opened the bowling with Joe Seaborne and in almost no time at all, the pair had blown away the Spofforth top order. In contrast to some of his previous displays, Seaborne was relatively subdued taking only the early wicket of the Spofforth opener in his five overs. Hazra, however, was on fire and helped himself to three wickets for only twelve runs assisted by Vince Greaves-Newall at slip for his first and rearranging the timbers for his second and third.

Brief resistance was offered by Spofforth’s captain who scored more than half his team’s runs at number four, but once he had edged behind to wicketkeeper Dave Howard off the change bowling of Martin Dickinson, the remaining batsmen fell like pins in a bowling alley; Dickinson helped himself to two more scalps as Umer Khan joined the party at the other end to pick up a brace. Arthington were denied a strike as Spofforth had no eleventh batsman and the first innings ended with Spofforth all out for 42 in the 22nd over.

An unfamiliar opening pair of Vince Greaves-Newall and Akash Hazra opened the innings in Arthington’s reply and the former soon found himself trudging back to the pavilion, reminiscing about his early season form, after playing back to a full delivery and being bowled. Hazra decided that attack was the best form of attack in his innings and quickly got in to his work but could only watch on as Joe Seaborne deflected a ball off his pads and onto the stumps to give Spofforth their second wicket.

Malcolm Barraclough was the final batsman required by the visitors and had made the second-top score of six by the time Hazra dispatched a ball over the boundary to end the game with his second maximum, having also struck 3 fours in his unbeaten 33. The 2nd XI required only ten overs to reach the target in, hopefully, their first victory at the start of another long, unbeaten run and remain top of division seven by a distance

Next week, they play at home for the first time since early June when they take on Ben Rhydding at the ACG, hoping to get revenge for the narrow defeat in the cup match earlier this season.

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

1st XI match ball sponsor: Eileen Barraclough

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Elizabeth Nash