Day two report: Rory Haydon has six appeal to put Staffs in control

Staffordshire seamer Rory Haydon

Rory Haydon grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul for Staffordshire to put them in as commanding position on day two of their NCCA Championship clash against Bedfordshire.

Leek seamer Haydon took 6-22 as Bedfordshire were dismissed for 141 as they replied to Staffordshire’s 204 all out at Checkley.

It was a pace double act from Staffs as Haydon’s new-ball partner Liam Hurt claimed 4-54 to hand the hosts a useful 63-run lead.

And that advantage had been extended to 196 at the close as half-centuries from Matt Morris and Zen Malik guided Staffordshire to 133-1 stumps.

Staffs will now be hoping that the weather gods smile favourably on them on the final day as they look to manoeuvre themselves into a position to potentially push for victory.

Staffs had started the day on 130-4 after rain-affected opening exchanges in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Thankfully, the weather had taken a positive turn and sun enveloped Four Trees for the majority of the day.

Staffordshire seamer Liam Hurt
Staffordshire seamer Liam Hurt took four wickets on day two against Bedfordshire. Picture: Alfie Shenton

And Staffordshire were initially grateful to Tom Moulton for steering them past the 200-mark as he compiled an unbeaten 50.

Moulton hit four fours in his patient knock, as the rest of the Staffs batting fell to the medium pace of Sam Jarvis and Sam Kelsall.

The Bedfordshire seamers had posed problems on the first afternoon, so it was no wonder that skipper George Darlow opted to bowl then unchanged on the second day.

Callum Hawkins (16) and Liam Hurt (11) lent support to Moulton, but Jarvis’ 6-70 and Kelsall’s 3-46 left Staffs with only one batting point to their name.

‘Tough times’

But if the hosts’ batting line-up had found the going tough at times, that was nothing compared to what Bedfordshire’s top order sampled when it was their turn to venture to the crease.

Openers Jake Tarling and Nabil Moughal had a tricky half-an-hour to face before lunch and put on 18 for the first wicket.

However, either side of the interval, Bedfordshire collapsed to 25-6.

Hurt set the ball rolling when he produced a devilish delivery which nipped back considerably to bowl Tarling for 18.

Jacob Garlick bowled an impressive spell on his Staffordshire debut.
Jacob Garlick bowled an impressive spell on his Staffordshire debut. Picture: Alfie Shenton

And just before the players broke for some food, Haydon won an lbw verdict against Moughal to leave Beds walking off on 19-2.

Suitably fuelled by another fine Checkley lunch spread, Staffordshire’s attack picked up where they left off in the afternoon session.

Haydon induced an edged from Oli Soames through to keeper Callum Hawkins to fall for two, before ex-Staffs skipper Kelsall became the 21-year-old’s next victim.

Kelsall (0) pushed at a good delivery and the ball flew to the bucket hands of Hurt at second slip, who took an excellent grab.

‘In the ascendancy’

Staffordshire had the bit between their teeth and continued to make further inroads into the visitors’ line-up.

Jarvis, who had been troubled after being struck on the hand by a vicious Hurt ball, then departed to the former Lancashire quick.

He got himself in a tangle and could only lob a catch to Anis Raza lurking at mid-on.

Day one report: Staffordshire forced to dig deep against Beds

And Bedfordshire were soon in all sorts of bother on 25-6 when Matt Taylor nicked a Haydon delivery to safe hands Hawkins behind the timbers.

Staffordshire might even have had a minute thought about restricting Beds to under 54 and being able to enforce the follow-on.


However, those well versed in NCCA cricket always know that a partnership is just around the corner – and Bedfordshire found a couple to save them from being completely humbled.

Matt Coles and Pat Harrington provided some much-needed defiance – and managed to negotiate their way through a probing, and occasionally hostile, spell from Staffs debutant Jacob Garlick.

They advanced the score to 87 before Hurt was drafted back into the attack and ended up taking two wickets in his first two balls.

Matt Morris compiled an unbeaten half-century in Staffordshire's second innings.
Matt Morris compiled an unbeaten half-century in Staffordshire’s second innings. Picture: Alfie Shenton

Coles, having made an entertaining 40, was unfortunate to flick a ball down the leg side to a tumbling Hawkins, who took a fine catch to end the ex-Kent man’s resistance.

And Joe Lowe fell next ball when he could only guide a snorter of a delivery to give Hawkins some more catching practice.

From 87-8, Bedfordshire skipper Darlow and Harrington forged a crucial 54-run stand for the ninth wicket.

James Kettleborough ready to usher in red-ball programme

Darlow was happy to fight fire with fire, which included taking on a Hurt bouncer and slapping him over fine leg for six.

It was then left to Haydon to return for another spell and not only wrap up his five-for, but also end Bedfordshire’s innings.

Harrington’s stubborn knock of 26 came to an end when Haydon rearranged his stumps – and it was a super six for the youngster next ball when he accounted for Jack Fuller.

‘Building blocks’

Staffordshire then set about building on their advantage, while also being wary of not letting Beds back into the game.

Kettleborough and Matt Morris raced to 32, before the former departed.

For the second time in the match, Kettleborough dragged a ball on to his stumps, this time from Fuller to exit for a breezy 25.

However, that was to be the only loss for Staffs as Morris and Zen Malik carved out an unbroken second-wicket stand of 101.

Morris ended the day unbeaten on 57, while Malik punished Beds late on to reach stumps on 50 not out.

The game is beautifully set up for Staffs – and now they just need the weather to play ball in order for them to have a chance of kicking off the season with a win.

Main image: Rory Haydon celebrates one of his six wickets on day two against Bedfordshire at Checkley. Picture: Alfie Shenton