Liam Hurt relishing chance to shine with Staffordshire

Liam Hurt has signed for Staffordshire County Cricket Club.

Liam Hurt has a burning desire to make a return to first-class cricket… and that can only be good news for Staffordshire.

Hurt was released by the Red Rose county at the end of last season and Staffs have wasted little time in recruiting the right-arm quick.

The 29-year-old progressed through the Lancashire system and went on to make 30 appearances for the county.

He took 15 wickets in the 2022 Royal London Cup to help Lancashire to the final, where they were beaten by Kent at Trent Bridge.

Hurt, who also spent stints with Leicestershire and Derbyshire in his career, picked up 2-64 in the final.

However, despite performing impressively in the one-day format, the Chorley-based paceman departed Old Trafford.

‘Tough times’

“It’s been tough for me. I was with Lancashire for a number of years and I’m really good mates with the lads there,” said Hurt.

“But cricket is cricket and I do miss the camaraderie in the dressing room, which is a big thing.

“I got told it was unlikely I’d be kept on a couple of weeks before the Royal London competition started. There was an emphasis on bringing the young lads through.

“Personally, I knew I was bowling well, but I understood the decision. I just wanted to make sure that they couldn’t leave me out of the team, which I managed to do.

Staffs select 12-man squad for NCCA Twenty20 Cup trip to Northumberland

“I knew I was going to be released, especially with them signing three or four lads under 18.

“I’ve got no regrets about my time at Lancashire. I always pushed my case to play, but it’s a tough team to get into.

“There’s lads that take 40 or 50 wickets a season and you’ve got to wait for injuries or bad performances. But you don’t get bad performances at a place like Lancashire.”

‘Genuine pace’

Hurt’s arrival into the Staffordshire squad ticks a box which has been unfulfilled for a number of seasons.

Staffs have been hunting a strike bowler with genuine pace… and a quick glance at Hurt in action shows he can be the man to lead the way.

He might be stepping down to the National Counties Cricket Association, but there is still that determination to return to the first-class arena.

New head coach Carr looking to drive Staffordshire forward

“It’s definitely something different, but it’s still a very competitive level of cricket. I’m looking forward to it,” explained Hurt, who was put in contact with Staffordshire by Lancashire spinner Jack Morley – a former team-mate of Staffs skipper James Kettleborough.

“I didn’t know a lot about the NCCA or the standard, but I understand it’s really good. I’ve had a few net sessions with the lads and they have been really welcoming.

“We look as though we have a good team, so I’m aiming to play some good cricket.”

‘Aiming high’

Hurt, who works as a plumber, has had an eventful winter.

He has welcomed a baby son into the world with partner Tasha, while also preparing for his debut season with Staffordshire.

And Staffs are looking to benefit from Hurt’s desire to return to his old level.

He played for Northamptonshire seconds this week and took four wickets against Glamorgan.

“I was hoping to get picked up right away after I was released by Lancashire, but it hasn’t happened,” added Hurt.

Liam Hurt is one of Staffordshire County Cricket Club's new signings.
Liam Hurt is one of Staffordshire County Cricket Club’s new signings.

“That’s maybe down to the fact some counties are not sure about the cricket they will be playing and other situations.

“It’s a massive thing to get back into professional cricket. Hopefully I can carry on where I left off last year and maybe pick up the odd trial game in midweek and go from there.

“So who knows what the future holds? But you look at someone like Richard Gleeson, who got into first-class cricket at 26 or 28 and he’s an inspiration.

“I had no hesitation in dropping down to play NCCA cricket for Staffordshire. I’m hoping something will come up and if it does, Staffs are happy for me to go and pursue it.

“That’s what we have agreed, but the main thing for me is to have a good season with Staffordshire.”

‘Batting brilliance’

Hurt, who plays his club cricket for Flixton in the Greater Manchester League, is also no slouch with the bat.

Last summer he scored 150 for Lancashire seconds against Essex seconds at Billericay… batting at number 10.

And he certainly sounds as though he has the bit between his teeth representing Staffordshire.

“Hopefully I can also bring some big innings to the table as well,” said Hurt. “I feel as though I can cause a bit of damage with the bat and take a few teams down later on in an innings.”

Liam Hurt is being kindly sponsored by Gavin Carr Financial Services for the 2023 NCCA season.

Interview by The Sentinel

Pictures: Liam Hurt is looking to shine for Staffordshire this summer. Images: Alfie Shenton