Captain’s unbeaten century saves Arthington after fielding

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Arthington overcame their latest opponents in another thrilling contest that went to the final over, despite giving themselves a mountain to climb with the bat due mainly to a fielding display that left an awful lot to be desired.

To the surprise of many on the day, an almost full match of cricket was able to take place between Arthington’s 1st XI and Burnt Yates, though the forecast had looked exceedingly gloomy in the build-up. The match, however, did have its overs reduced to 42 per side before the start of play as both teams waited out early drizzle before a ball was bowled. Arthington’s captain Naveed Andrabi won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The usual opening bowling pair took the new ball and although Naveed Piran struggled slightly in the early stages, Umar Farooq was straight into the action, bowling tight lines and taking an early wicket via an edge to Kamrosh Khan at first slip. Farooq continued and completed an impressive and economical first spell, while Piran was replaced by Luke Seaborne, who also failed to make any in-roads, though was unfortunate to see a difficult catch dropped at mid-off.

Naveed Andrabi was Arthington’s second change bowler and quickly had an impact on proceedings, making a second top-order breakthrough in the 16th over when the batsman failed to hit a straight ball and was bowled. Four overs later, Andrabi struck again, this time with the help of Ahmer Sadiq at short cover, who turned in one of Arthington’s few positive performances in the field.

After Naveed Piran had held on to a catch in the deep to give Rahul Khode his first wicket in the 23rd over, the score was nicely poised at 86/4. However, Burnt Yates’ number four and number six batsmen combined for a blistering partnership of 109 for the fifth wicket and tilted the balance in their side’s favour. The partnership and the opposition’s innings as a whole was, however, punctuated by some very poor fielding from Arthington’s 1st XI.

On his way to an excellent century, the Burnt Yates middle-order player could easily have been given out first ball having possibly gloved one behind. He was also dropped on three occasions, as were several other members of his team, with catches going down at long-off, cover, deep cover, wicketkeeper, second slip, gully and even third man. There were also some comical mis-fields resulting in easily preventable boundaries and overthrows, all of which meant that the total set by the home side was far more than it should have been had Arthington’s fielding been anywhere near its best.

None of this should take away from the achievement of Burnt Yates’ Dominic Taylor though, who reached 120 with a mixture of elegant shots through the off-side and more brutal strikes down the ground. The partnership was finally broken by a mix-up between the batsmen, which enabled Rahul Khode to throw the ball to the bowler from the off-side who took off the bails. 13 runs later the home side’s centurion was finally caught by the Arthington captain at long-off to give Akash Hazra his first wicket and three more wickets fell before the close. Naveed Piran toppled middle-stump to take his first and only wicket before Naveed Andrabi took two more in his final over by means of Akash Hazra pouching a catch at long-off at the third attempt and an LBW. At the end of the innings, Arthington faced an uphill task of 245 for victory.

The target was made all the more difficult when the away side were informed at the interval that they had two fewer overs for the chase due to a slow run-rate, 40 to be exact, which seemed slightly harsh when the ball had had to be dried every time it touched the outfield between deliveries and even mis-hit shots were having to be retrieved from allotments and from among herds of cattle when they inevitably cleared the ropes.

Things got off to the worst possible start for the 1st XI when Umar Farooq, scorer of a century in the reverse fixture, was excellently caught in the slips for a second-ball duck. This brought captain Naveed Andrabi to the crease alongside Sajid Hussain, with a lot of weight on the pair’s shoulders. Arthington’s captain wasted no time to play himself in and struck two boundaries from his first three balls faced.

The experienced pair added 77 runs for the second wicket with Andrabi scoring the majority but Hussain dispatching any loose bowling with ruthless efficiency, scoring 6 fours in his innings. Hussain was ultimately outdone by the reduction in pace brought about by the Burnt Yates change bowler in his first over, when the ball wormed its way between bat and pad to hit the stumps.

Kamrosh Khan, on his return from sunnier climes, was the next man to the crease and also looked in good touch despite the break. The score was moved on by 70 more runs before his wicket fell having made 23: stumped after some sharp work by the Burnt Yates wicketkeeper. At this stage, Arthington were on track with the required run-rate but Andrabi was living a charmed life at the other end, having already seen two chances put down, one at deep mid-wicket from a sweetly struck shot off his pads and the other a diving one-handed effort at conventional mid-wicket that could only parry the ball to the deck.

Naveed Piran gave the Arthington skipper some much needed relief and took over the scoring baton, adding 27 in no time including 2 fours and 2 sixes before cruelly being given out caught behind when the ball struck his trouser pocket. Two further Arthington batsmen came and went as the match moved into the latter stages and, almost inevitably, to the final over.

Amid the chaos and at some point or other, Andrabi secured his third century of the season. He would go on reach an unbeaten 121 including 7 fours and 11 sixes. The small ground at Burnt Yates certainly suited the captain’s flamboyant style as he took advantage of short leg-side and straight boundaries on multiple occasions but also struck several balls over the bowler’s head that would have cleared the ropes on most grounds. Knowing that there was still more work to be done in the match, his celebration on reaching the milestone was understandably subdued.

And so, following a 10 and 9-run over, the match came down to the final six balls. At 238/6, the equation was simple, seven runs to win, and Arthington’s strategy simpler still. From the first ball, Andrew Dowson inside-edged the ball into his pads and the ball barely exited the crease. A scream of ‘Yes!’ from the non-striker’s ended saw Dowson spring into action and scamper what was adjudged to be a leg-bye, much to Dowson’s frustration. The second ball of the over provided another moment of huge significance as Andrabi hit the ball high into the air, but straight above the mid-wicket fielder, who barely had to move. So long was the ball in the air, in fact, that the batsmen had turned for a second run before it began its descent, moving this way and that as it fell. The Burnt Yates fielder barely got anything on it as it hit the ground and gave Andrabi yet another reprieve.

Four runs required from four balls put Arthington in pole position but a terrific third delivery from the home side’s bowler made the onlooking Arthington batsmen nervous. Andrabi kept out the leg-stump yorker but there was no run to be had. With the fourth and final ball of the match, Andrabi carted a length ball between long-off and deep mid-wicket for a six giving Arthington victory with two balls and four wickets to spare.

A truly thrilling contest when all prior indications seemed to suggest the match would be called off saw the 1st XI stumble over the line. Despite the elation, the team must realise that they cannot expect to come away victorious every time after turning in such poor performances in the field and though the tricky conditions may account for some of the drops there are still a lot of improvements to be made. Had it not been for a wonderfully measured and stylish century from the captain, things would have been quite different.

The win means that the 1st XI retain their top position as the pointy end of the season approaches. Next week, Arthington host North Stainley at the ACG, hoping to avoid the deluge that put pay to the away fixture in July, without a ball being bowled.

Special thanks from the entire 1st XI must go to Ken Clayton for offering to score the match. The entire club is grateful for your regular contributions.

 

Arthington 2nd XI avenge cup defeat with emphatic league win

 

Ben Rhydding were the 2nd XI’s opponents at the ACG in their latest league match and the Arthington team were keen to exact revenge, following their narrow defeat to the visitors earlier in the season in the Peter Bentley Cup quarter final.

Arthington fielded a strong batting line-up, so had no concerns upon losing the toss and being asked to bat first. However, the usually reliable opening partnership of Jo Nash and Umer Khan could only manage 25 before the latter was caught out for 11 and this began a sequence of unfortunate events resulting in the loss of four more Arthington wickets to leave them struggling at 59/5. Jo Nash was forced to look on as Vince Greaves-Newall, Gareth Meredith and Malcolm Barraclough were all bowled by the same Ben Rhydding bowler and the returning Alex O’Neil, having struck an enormous six from his second ball found a fielder with his fourth and was caught.

Thankfully, the 2nd XI hide their real batting talent down the order and there was no need to panic as Martin Hings strode to the crease. He combined with an unbeaten Nash to form a magnificent 106-run partnership, of which he contributed 75. His innings began with some scoring shots behind square but once he had gotten into his stride, the spectators at the ACG were treated to some exquisite off-drives for several of Hings’ 13 fours and a brutal blow straight over the sight screen for six.

Nash had also played his part in the recovery effort as the anchor of the innings and may be slightly disappointed to have batted for all 40 overs but miss out on an unbeaten half-century by a single run. The Arthington club secretary and groundsman made good use of his trademark cut shot and also played a few nice drives and flicks into the leg side, scoring 3 fours in his important innings. After Hings had finally been dismissed, having failed to keep out a ball from the away side’s returning opening bowler, Josh Rhodes provided a final burst of runs, including a pair of boundaries, to nudge the 2nd XI over the 175-run mark required for maximum batting points and end the home side’s innings on 180/6.

The chase looked a difficult one at the outset but soon became highly improbable for the mid-table side as Joe Seaborne and Martin Hings tore through the Ben Rhydding top order, barely conceding a run in the process. Seaborne took the first of his three wickets via a catch behind by Dave Howard before relocating the bails on two occasions, the first of which was a real beauty of a swing ball. One similarity between the two innings was that of a vigilant and determined opener, who looked solid in defence as wickets tumbled around her, Martin Hings the latest to disassemble the stumps.

Indeed, it took the change bowling of Vince Greaves-Newall to finally make the top-order breakthrough, having already helped himself to the first of his five wickets. The ball found its way into the grateful mits of Alex O’Neil, fielding at a close mid-wicket position, showing the 1st XI how it’s done with a good catch.

Dougie Jones was able to dismiss the visitor’s captain with the help of a catch by Malcolm Barraclough before Greaves-Newall welcomed several new additions to his now thriving duck farm; the final three wickets all fell without adding to the score. One bowled and a catch apiece by Gareth Meredith and Alex O’Neil. Ben Rhydding all out for 64 in the 35th over.

The thumping 116-run victory means little in terms of league position for the 2nd XI who still sit on top of the pile in division seven and, with only five games left to play, must feel confident of securing promotion if not the league title, even at this early stage. Next week, they play against Thirsk away from home.

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

1st XI match ball sponsor: Harehills Councillors

2nd XI match ball sponsor: Josh Rhodes