Defeat at Blubberhouses halts another promising Arthington run

The problems for Arthington’s 1st XI began long before the start of play in their latest division one match against Blubberhouses, when it became apparent that they would be without five of their regular players. An 88-run win against the same opposition in June therefore had little bearing on how events would unfold this time around, with the team being reinforced by several willing volunteers from the 2nd XI’s roster.

Arthington’s captain Naveed Andrabi won the toss and chose to bat first, hoping to compile a significant enough total that a more frail batting order and fewer bowling options would not become a factor. The skipper opened the batting alongside Umar Farooq and the pair started superbly, amassing a 110-run partnership for the first wicket. It took the home side’s fifth bowling option to dislodge one of the openers though not before 20 runs were taken from his first two overs. Umar Farooq was the man out: LBW for 30 including 5 fours.

Rahul Khode, on the other hand, could only last an over before he became the second wicket to fall but a 43-run partnership for the third wicket steadied the ship, though crucially it was Andrabi that was the next Arthington batsman to make his way back to the pavilion, once again given out LBW, for a well-made 72 runs including 6 fours and 4 sixes.

Any doubts about the fragility of the Arthington middle order before the match were then confirmed as a series of unfortunate events took the score from a formidable 175/3 in the 29th over to 184/8 in the 35th as wickets tumbled. Like Khode before them, Andrew Dowson, Kamrosh Khan and Umer Khan all failed to score with Malcolm Barraclough’s single the only run scored between numbers five and eight in the away side’s order. Amidst the destruction, Anwar Ul Haq passed another fine fifty including 4 fours and 4 sixes but was also dismissed shortly afterwards, again LBW.

Late order runs from Akash Hazra, who struck 3 fours and a six in his unbeaten 23, were welcomed by the visitors but it was too much to ask to see out the remaining overs as Hazra ran out of partners at the end of the 42nd over after determined work from Gareth Meredith and Trevor Lobley was eventually undone by some accurate bowling to hit the stumps. Arthington finished their innings 224 all out.

The total would ordinarily be enough to win a game in division one based on past performances and the Arthington bowling effort got off to a great start when Umar Farooq bowled out the Blubberhouses opener just three balls in. A 44-run partnership then got their reply truly underway before a 115-run stand brought the hosts right back into contention. Three top-order wickets were taken by Naveed Andrabi, all of which broke useful partnerships, the second of which removed the home side’s Will Haines who batted very well for the game’s top score of 79. Andrabi was assisted by catches from Umar Farooq and Umer Khan before removing the bails for his third wicket.

Between the captain’s scalps, Anwar Ul Haq also created a chance, which was nicely taken by Rahul Khode and after the fifth wicket had fallen, Blubberhouses found themselves 171/5 with ten overs to go. A run-rate of just over five per over would see them home. In the end, despite a fourth wicket via  a catch behind for Andrabi and a catch by the skipper off the bowling of Rahul Khode, the hosts reached the target with three overs and three wickets to spare largely due to an expensive final over from Ul Haq and a further two from Farooq as the Blubberhouses number nine batsman and wicketkeeper lined up the Arthington bowling nicely for a quickfire 28 not out to see them over the line.

It was a valiant effort by the 1st XI, who came fairly close despite fielding a significantly weakened side and every player can be proud of their efforts. A few more scores with the bat from regular 1st XI players may well have seen the result go in Arthington’s favour. With defeat, a third successive two-match winning streak for the 1st XI is ended before they can reach a third win. As a result, they lose a place to Darley and now sit in fifth place in division one, still with a sizeable gap between themselves and the chasing pack. Next weekend, the 1st XI host Masham at the ACG.

Special thanks to Ken Clayton for scoring the 1st XI match at Blubberhouses.


Depleted Arthington easily reined in by leaders

The availability problems of the 1st XI had a knock-on effect for the 2nd XI resulting in Arthington only being able to field ten players for their latest home match: a return visit of league leaders West Tanfield, who had beaten them only a week prior. Captain Martin Hings was also absent and the toss was instead lost by Dave Howard leading to the home side batting first.

Despite the early wicket of Jo Nash in the third over, Vince Greaves-Newall and Luke Seaborne got the innings off to a good start and at a decent pace, with plenty of scoring opportunities being taken. However, such is his habit at the moment, Seaborne attempted to latch onto another high loose ball that was tailing off down the leg-side, could only get a half-contact on it and steered it straight to the hands of a West Tanfield fielder at backward square leg.

Mohammed Faiyazuddin then did his best to keep pace with Greaves-Newall, who had continued to find the boundary with regularity and the pair added another 36 runs before Faiyazuddin was undone by some slow right-arm spin and was stumped, having abandoned his crease entirely. After an explosive innings the week before, the visitors were well aware of Tameem Wani’s capabilities and they were treated with more of the same on this occasion as both he and the remaining opener added to the total.

Greaves-Newall passed his fifty and had started to seek more dangerous scoring options, which ultimately brought about his downfall when an attempted blow down the ground for six failed to clear the long-off fielder. He made 62 runs in 77 balls including 12 fours. Wani was joined by Joe Seaborne who came and went for only two after his stumps were relocated but the former had really got going at this point striking a pair of sixes down the ground to keep the runs flowing. Six runs short of fifty, however, Wani played one lofty shot too many and was caught, having made 44 in 43 balls including 4 fours and 2 sixes.

There was still time for Martin Finn (12) and Andrew Stoddart (19*) to add to the Arthington total before they ran out of overs; the innings finished on 196/7.

Having set what appeared a competitive total, the home side were slightly put out by the ease with which West Tanfield were able to reach the target in the second innings. Though Arthington may blame the missing fielder, a crooked elbow, a lightning fast outfield, a docile pitch or other misfortunes, the fact was they simply did not bowl or field well enough to contain a dominant West Tanfield top order.

Martin Finn took the only wicket to fall via an LBW to remove one of the visiting openers when the score was on 46. After that, the two remaining batsmen batted almost unimpeded until the close, combining for 154 runs and scoring 78 and 75 runs respectively. Several chances came and went to dismiss the pair, however, though their wickets may have only delayed rather than altered the eventual outcome. The target was reached in the 29th over with 11 overs still to be bowled.

The 2nd XI’s third defeat in a row finally brings them through the trickiest period of fixtures in their season. They will look to bounce back when they go on the road for their next match against Boroughbridge & Staveley, against whom they enjoyed a convincing nine-wicket victory in the first match of the season.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Nash for providing the teas at the ACG.