Arthington end superb season with victory at stunning Studley Royal
If there was ever going to be a choice about where the 1st XI would like to end their incredibly successful league season away from home, then a trip to Studley Royal may well have been at the top of the list. On one of the best grounds the team has had the fortune to play, Arthington faced Studley Royal’s 2nd XI in the final match of the 2021 campaign, having secured the division two championship a week earlier.
The match was late getting underway owing to a mixture of heavy traffic and very poor timekeeping from nearly all members of the 1st XI, meaning that only half of the team were at the ground before the scheduled start time of 12.30. Thankfully, both the home side and the umpires were willing to overlook this unfortunate and avoidable delay to proceedings and a 40-over match began with Arthington batting first, upon winning the toss.
Having already selected a depleted side and with other top-order options not yet present, former 1st XI captain Jo Nash opened the batting with stand-in skipper Sajid Hussain. The pair got the away side off to a steady start and had each struck four boundaries before the loss of the first wicket, though Nash was fortunate to avoid being caught early on. Hussain was the first Arthington wicket to fall as he tried to play a full, straight ball into the leg-side and was bowled for 20.
Nash followed soon after, having been caught successfully on this occasion by a Studley Royal fielder, bringing Kamrosh Khan and Umar Farooq to the crease just before the drinks interval at 20 overs: the score at 58/2. Sadly, Khan was unable to reproduce his excellent innings of the previous week against Killinghall and was soon taking the long walk back to the pavilion for only 14.
Once more, Andrew Dowson looked to be in good touch, caressing two fours through the off-side, but he was undone by a devilish delivery that struck the top of the off-stump and ended his short visit to the middle. There was then a moment of brilliance in the field from Studley Royal’s deep mid-wicket fielder. Umar Farooq had just started to find the boundary with regularity but was denied a second six by a diving, one-handed catch on the rope that would not have looked out of place at the highest level of the game. Understandably, Farooq was in some disbelief at the dismissal but ultimately had to depart.
Alex O’Neil and Rahul Khode also found the boundary on several occasions, the former getting off the mark with a six over long-on and the latter playing an audacious ramp shot through a vacant fine-leg position for one of his 6 fours. O’Neil was eventually undone by the home side’s bowler, who saw him charge down the wicket and pitched the ball as short as he could to unsettle him. This worked, as Arthington’s number six could only slice the ball aerially to cover for a simple catch, having made 22 runs.
Hamza Mahmood signalled his intentions from the outset, on his return to the side, swinging at almost every ball in the latter stages of Arthington’s innings and though he did swiftly reach double figures, this approach was his undoing as he skied a ball for a waiting Studley Royal fielder, who took the catch. Having crossed before the catch was taken, Khode was then bowled out by the very next ball, giving Luke Seaborne the unenviable task of facing a hat-trick ball for the second time in as many weekends.
However, Arthington’s tailender was able to survive and, together with Akash Hazra, even managed to take eleven runs from the final over to finish the Arthington innings on 193/8.
With several bowling options missing for the 1st XI, Sajid Hussain opted to pair Luke Seaborne with regular opening bowler Umar Farooq. Seaborne bowled a mixture of good and bad deliveries and should probably have conceded more than the 15 runs he eventually went for in his five-over spell, however, he did take the first wicket via a catch at slip by Alex O’Neil.
Farooq was more economical but failed to make a breakthrough and soon both opening bowlers were replaced. Akash Hazra and Rahul Khode took over the baton and the latter took his first wicket in the 19th over with the help of an excellent catch from Sajid Hussain, reaching above his head at mid-on.
At the 20-over mark, the score was 69/2, slightly ahead of Arthington’s total at the same stage, though the away side had accelerated significantly in the latter part of their innings and Studley Royal’s batsmen would need to do the same. Arthington’s bowlers, however, forced them to use the brakes by taking two quick wickets. The first was an LBW from Khode to dismiss the remaining opener for 36 and the second a catch at cover by Luke Seaborne to give Hazra his first wicket of the day.
More wickets fell soon after as none of the home side’s middle order seemed able to stay with their number four batsman for any length of time. Hazra took his second wicket after an edge behind was held by wicketkeeper Andrew Dowson and Arthington’s gloveman was on hand again when Khode induced a top edge that looped high in the air, slightly in front of the batsman, for Dowson to swoop underneath for the catch.
A huge mix-up between the Studley Royal batters brought about the next wicket via a simple run out opportunity for Alex O’Neil, who was able to roll the ball gently to Dowson to take off the bails while the batsmen were deciding, at the non-striker’s end, which one of them was the better sacrifice. After the more recent arrival had left the arena, Khode took his fourth wicket of the game and took the score to 96/8, the home side teetering on the edge of all out.
Having bowled his allotted overs, Hazra was replaced by Kamrosh Khan, who needed just six balls to take the final two wickets. His first ball was a full toss that clattered into leg-stump after the stubborn Studley Royal number four failed to connect and his last a fantastic off-break that the away side’s number eleven was confident of leaving outside off-stump only for the ball to turn sharply and hit middle. Studley Royal all out for 108.
And that is that for another year. The 1st XI ended the 2021 campaign 23 points clear at the top of division two having only lost twice all season. Once again, Naveed Andrabi reached 1,000 runs with the bat but sizeable contributions from Sajid Hussain (562) and Umar Farooq (438) completed a very formidable top three. Naveed Piran’s 46 wickets with the ball is an impressive feat having only joined the side at the end of May but he still needed support from the 1st XI’s other bowlers, all of whom chipped in with wickets throughout the season.
Special thanks to Robert Dowson for scoring the 1st XI’s final fixture of the season.
Thank you to Ken Clayton who has kindly provided the match report of the 2nd XI’s final fixture of the season against Knaresborough Forest at the ACG.
Golden Oldies shine to round off sensational season
One of the best afternoons of the summer for the 2nd XI saw the final league match of the season take place at the ACG with the Arthington 2nd team having already clinched the Division seven title.
Missing several key players from both the 1st and 2nd teams, Arthington struggled to field their usual competitive eleven with only six of the regulars on the team sheet. Their team of ten players featured Tom Mitchell’s first appearance since breaking his wrist at Spofforth in 2019, together with the normally scoring duo of Malcolm Barraclough and Ken Clayton and the ageless Dennis Nash making his 399th appearance for the club.
Captain Martin Dickinson won the toss and elected to bat first on an immaculate strip produced by Jo Nash. The opposition declared their intention to give all their players an opportunity to take part in the proceedings, restricting each bowler to a maximum of 4 overs.
Opening with Vince Greaves-Newall and Martin Dickinson, Arthington’s scoring stuttered along with Greaves-Newall not being his usual aggressive self and soon departing having only six singles to his name. Mohammed Faiyazuddin was sent in at three in the hope of repeating his splendid innings at Kirk Deighton a couple of weeks previously.
Dickinson left the field shortly after having managed to crack a few boundaries before playing across a juicy full toss and getting bowled for 16.
At 24/2 things were looking a bit dodgy but in came Wasim Malik to take centre stage and set about the bowling with balls departing to all parts of the ground and beyond. He and Faiyazuddin put on 76 for the third wicket with the latter taking a back seat and rotating the strike effectively to Malik’s benefit. Malik was eventually dismissed having cracked a rapid 65 including 3 sixes and 8 fours.
Next into the fray came Gareth Meredith looking to follow in the same manner and he contributed a valuable 34. Faiyazuddin was finding it hard to get going due to not feeling 100% but still contributed a valuable 24.
Tom Mitchell hit a couple of quick boundaries before holing out to a fielder leaving Dave Howard to join Malcolm Barraclough at the crease and the pair put on 45 for the seventh wicket. Barraclough was showing his class with some fine shots to finish on 34 and Howard, with a quick fire 13 not out, gave Arthington a very respectable final score of 220/7 with Knaresborough Forest using eleven different bowlers!
The second innings began with Wasim Malik and Dennis Nash opening the bowling. Knaresborough Forest’s batsmen were clearly intent on having a good go at anything loose and got off to a brisk start. However, the evergreen Nash made the first breakthrough by clean bowling the opener for 18 runs.
Arthington joined in the spirit of the game giving as many players as possible a chance to turn their arm. Wickets fell at fairly regular intervals with Vince Greaves-Newall being the pick of the bunch taking four wickets for just 20 runs from his eight overs. Gareth Meredith also weighed in with a couple while Martin Dickinson and Malcolm Barraclough got one each.
The ACG also witnessed the rare sight of Dave Howard bowling his dibbly dobblies and substitute wicketkeeper Greaves-Newall stumping Knaresborough Forest’s club Chairman Dave Alloway off the bowling of Barraclough.
Some fine fielding from Tom Mitchell and Gareth Meredith also helped to restrict the flow of runs. A word of thanks also to Steve Dickinson for offering to play as substitute fielder for the majority of the second innings.
The final Knaresborough Forest pair put up stubborn resistance coincidentally also scoring 45 for the last partnership, but they never looked like reaching the target as they eventually finished on 161/9.
A very enjoyable game played with good humour by both sides and an excellent finale to an excellent season for Arthington’s 2nd XI.
The club would also like to thank the week’s match ball sponsors for both matches for their support and generosity: Harehills Councillors