Arthington extend winning run with another dominant

performance

Arthington’s 1st XI recorded a third successive victory in their latest match against Bishop Thornton to move into the top two in division two for the first time, following an excellent all-round display. After winning the toss, Arthington captain Naveed Andrabi opted to bat first on what seemed a decent wicket and with sunny skies above.

The innings did not start as brightly for the visitors though, as they lost the early wicket of opener Zain Muhammad with the score on only 14. This brought Andrabi to the crease on the back of a century and two fifties in his last three outings. Both he and remaining opener Sajid Hussain began cautiously and assessed the conditions. Andrabi’s first few boundaries came via streaky but safe shots between the slip cordon but he soon turned on the style and began sending the ball to all parts, getting a lot of reward in front of the wicket with several nice drives through the covers and flicks to the mid-wicket boundary.

Sajid Hussain weighed in with a few blows of his own, favouring shots down the ground back past the bowler but mainly played the role of expertly giving the strike back to Andrabi for him to continue his fine recent form. The pair combined for a fantastic second-wicket stand of 175, putting Arthington in a very commanding position. Shortly after Hussain had reached a determined fifty the partnership was broken. Having run so well between the wickets to this point, there was a complete mix-up between the pair, in disagreement over whether a run could be taken. Hussain was left stranded down the wicket and made little attempt to make his ground again as the bowler eventually removed the bails for the run out. Hussain, though, had selflessly laid the foundations of Arthington’s innings, scoring 54 including 3 fours and a six.

This started a minor collapse as, five runs later, Umar Farooq was bowled out first ball and Andrabi, having reached his century shortly before the loss of Hussain’s wicket also found himself walking off to the changing room, thanks to an extraordinary catch at long-off from the Bishop Thornton opening bowler, who made excellent ground to his right before deploying a full-length dive and catching the ball just inches off the turf. Andrabi’s second century of the season was elegant as well as unusually chanceless and contained 18 fours and three sixes.

With plenty of batting still to come, Arthington turned to their big hitters. Alex O’Neil’s return to the 1st XI saw him bludgeon a massive six over the sight screen but a second attempt to do so led to his demise at long-off for 11. Kamrosh Khan, who had also started in positive fashion, looked in imperious form, particularly off his legs as he led the charge to the end of the innings. He was joined by Rafiullah Khan whose powerful 24 not out came within the space of the last three overs and included a four and 3 sixes. Kamrosh Khan also remained unbeaten at the close: 3 fours and a six helping him reach 36. After the 45 overs, Arthington had posted 267/5, leaving Bishop Thornton a required run rate of six an over for victory.

Following their recent successes with the ball, there was no reason for Arthington to change their opening bowling partnership of Naveed Piran and Umar Farooq, a decision that immediately reaped its rewards as both unseated the bails in their very first overs to make the opposition’s uphill task slightly more vertical.

There then began an enthralling battle between Piran and the remaining Bishop Thornton opener with words being exchanged and both having their fair say with their weapon of choice: Piran beating the bat on a few occasions and forcing the batsman to dig out several accurate yorkers only to see several delightful cut shots guided through backward point and some more agricultural blows reaching the mid-wicket boundary. The home side had been keeping up with the scoring rate but at the cost of wickets, losing their third to Piran before the excellent battle ended with a top-edge from an attempted pull shot, resulting in a catch at mid-on by Umar Farooq.

Piran struck again in his next over via an LBW to bring the score to 64/5, the hosts now well behind the asking rate due to the regular loss of batsmen. At the other end, Luke Seaborne replaced Farooq and took a wicket in his third over by virtue of hitting the stumps, before Piran wrapped up his second five-fer in as many games thanks to a high, yet comfortable catch by Sajid Hussain at square leg.

Seaborne continue his recent habit of knocking over tail-enders after all the hard work is done by the two opening bowlers and took care of numbers nine and ten with some more straight bowling resulting in a bowled and his first ever LBW for Arthington in his fifth season at the club: quite a remarkable statistic. After a brief cameo, the same heroics seen last week by a number eleven batsman were not to be repeated: Akash Hazra taking a catch off his own bowling to bring the innings to a close, leaving the Bishop Thornton number seven who had batted extremely well for his side’s top score of 30, stranded at the other end. Bishop Thornton were bowled out for 106, giving Arthington a victory margin of 161 runs.

This was a formidable all-round display from Arthington who started the match with an assured performance with the bat before rounding it off with some excellence with the ball and a fairly faultless game in the field. Congratulations to Naveed Andrabi for another century, his fourteenth for Arthington and to Naveed Piran for successive five-wicket hauls. A special mention also to Kamrosh Khan who had an excellent game as stand-in wicketkeeper.

Next weekend the ACG will be hoping for a similarly confident display as the 1st XI play at home against Dacre Banks.

Malik misses out on double as he mullers 2nd XI past Kirk

Deighton

It would rightly be said that many of Arthington 2nd XI’s recent triumphs have been as a result of their prolific bowling performances. However, there is little doubt that their batting was the highlight in a ruthless 258-run victory over Kirk Deighton. Stand-in skipper Dave Howard won the toss and elected to bat first.

The opening partnership between Umer Khan and Jo Nash had been broken by an early wicket in previous games, so it was pleasing to see the pair combine for a 76-run partnership on this occasion, Khan eventually departing just one run short of an excellent fifty; his 49 runs included 9 fours. Nash then took a back seat to enjoy the fireworks that followed, as Wasim Malik entered the arena to play one of the most memorable innings the ACG has ever witnessed.

Kirk Deighton’s 8-man fielding unit, reinforced by an alternating substitute fielder from Arthington, were soon left chasing the ball around the park as Malik sent ball after ball to or over the boundary. As part of a 257-run partnership with Nash, Malik struck a staggering 198 in a destructive innings that began in the 14th over and ended in the 38th. 166 of those runs came in boundaries with 13 fours and an incredible 19 sixes being scored off Malik’s flashing blade; the highlights of which were an audacious switch-hit pull shot for six into the off-side and an almighty blow over the bowler’s head for the six that brought up his century.

You know that a team is batting well once the batsman’s totals go up on the scoreboard

There has since been some debate over how quickly Malik reached his final score, the third highest on record by an Arthington batsman, with early estimates from the likes of Arthington’s eager social media manager who took to Twitter to announce the feat took only 68 balls perhaps being slightly exaggerated. Nevertheless, it was a superb display of power-hitting for Malik’s second Arthington century, ably supported by Nash who reached an impressive 66, including 4 fours, understanding that his role was simply to be at the non-striker’s end for as much time as possible.

Bizarrely, having blasted their way to 333/1, the hosts lost three wickets without a run being scored as Nash, Malik and Gareth Meredith all departed in quick time; amusingly, Meredith was caught by Arthington’s own James Smith, acting as substitute fielder on his first outing for the club. No more wickets fell after that brief flurry though and the 2nd XI eventually posted a monstrous 353/4 from their 40 overs, the fourth highest score ever by an Arthington side.

With several bowling options missing from the usual 2nd XI side, Joe Seaborne’s opening bowling partner was Umer Khan who had been an impressive bowler in the 1st XI before stepping down to open the batting for the 2nds in the past two seasons. However, it was the former that once more ripped through the opposition’s batting line-up, taking five wickets in total and his tally for the season to 19.

With only seven wickets for Arthington to take, it was impressive that Seaborne managed to take his fourth Arthington five-fer in only his fifteenth match with two bowled, a caught behind by wicketkeeper Dave Howard and two catches at slip courtesy of Jo Nash and Mohammed Faiyazuddin, conceding just 13 runs from his eight overs in the process. A run-out by Gareth Meredith at mid-on of the Kirk Deighton number three, who had reached 35, also played a part and the final wicket was taken by Khan, in his second spell, to bowl the opposition’s number seven for a well-made 27. Kirk Deighton bowled out for 95.

There were milestones aplenty this week as both Arthington sides achieved maximum points in their respective victories: another memorable weekend for the club. The 2nd XI remain top of the division seven table with their win while the 1st XI move up to second place in division two with theirs. Next week the 2nd XI travel to Ouseburn.

Arthington Cricket Club wishes to thank scorers Malcolm Barraclough and Ken Clayton once again for their contributions.

The club is also grateful to the match ball sponsors this week for their generosity:

1st XI match ball sponsor: Alex O’Neil

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Jo Nash