Sam Arthurton the man for Great Witchingham’s big game
Runs have been at a premium for many batsmen in the soggy conditions so far this summer – but Great Witchingham teenager Sam Arthurton is bucking the trend with an average in excess of 100.
The 19-year-old already has two centuries under his belt this year and he is hoping to maintain his fine form for Witchingham's biggest game of the season this Sunday. The Witches host Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division side Brentwood in the group final of the National Club Championship – the Kingfisher Beer Cup – and Arthurton said: 'It's a big game for the club because we haven't won a big competition before and although we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves, we obviously want to go as far as we can.
'We saw what Swardeston did by winning the national club Twenty20 competition so everyone at the club is really looking forward to taking on Brentwood.'
As for his own stunning form – he has 617 runs from eight innings in all club competitions this season – Arthurton insists there is no mysterious secret to his success: 'It's always good to get runs because that's what you train to do, but really I've just kept things simple this year,' he said. 'I had a bit of a break at the end of last season before I got back into training and really I've just been working hard and watching the ball hard – just sticking to the basics.
'Conditions haven't been great for batting because we've not had the best start to the summer, so you have to have the mindset that it's not going to be easy and that you're going to have to work hard.
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'You have to give yourself the best possible chance when you go out there and rather than going too early and trying to get runs too quickly I've tried to be patient.'
Despite Arthurton's prolific start to the campaign and a similarly impressive contribution from the Witchingham top order, his side are yet to record a league win this year, with five draws to date. The crux of the problem has been Witchingham's failure to bowl an opposition side out in the league this summer, but Arthurton is not unduly concerned: 'Our strength is in our batting and that's been shown with some of the scores we have put on the board,' he said. 'We haven't been able to build enough pressure to get through sides and a few of the guys have struggled to take wickets, but I'm sure when we get that first win we'll be fine. No-one is too worried – we are scoring runs, fielding well and the bowling has been good as well, we just need a bit of luck to get all 10 wickets.'
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Arthurton was with the Essex Academy from the age of 16 to 18 and he still appears regularly for the second team, who are currently captained by another Norfolk product, Jaik Mickleburgh.
'I'm playing for the second team at the moment and I've started quite well this year,' said Arthurton. 'I'm just working hard and doing as well as I can and trying to get them to notice me. It is then up to them and the ball's in their court, I've just got to show a good attitude and enjoy it.
'I'm still only 19 and a lot of people don't get the opportunities that I've had, so I'm just working as hard as I can to hopefully try and get a contract.
'If it doesn't happen then obviously I'll have a decision to make, but Essex is a good club and they've done a lot for me so hopefully I will get something, but I know I'm only going to get that by continuing to do well.'