‘Playing for Staffordshire is a big thing for me in my career’

Nils Priestley is ready to make an impact for Staffordshire.

Nils Priestley is a man with a plan… or two of them to be precise.

The 22-year-old all-rounder is currently in his final year at Loughborough University studying for an international business degree. But that’s not the only examination he’s hoping to pass.

Priestley still has aspirations to make it as a first-class cricketer having already had a taste of life on the professional circuit with Derbyshire.

He had progressed through the academy at Derbyshire and was studying at Loughborough when he was handed a rookie contract.

However, despite breaking into the first team and making four List A appearances, he was released at the end of the 2021 season.


“I was really upset and disappointed to be released by Derbyshire,” said Priestley. “They had me for two years and one of those was a Covid-affected season where there weren’t any second-team games.

“In my last year, Dave Houghton left as coach and one of the last things he did was release me. Apart from getting out of the 20s and 30s, I felt left without an answer as to how to improve.

“I was shocked because there was no pre-warning and it was a weird situation and I didn’t process it straightaway.

“It was kind of overwhelming. Looking back I think I found myself playing cricket not how I wanted to, but how I thought the coaches wanted me to.

“But my dad has always said that I needed a Plan B because you can’t play cricket forever, which is what I’ve got at Loughborough.

“I’ve not fallen out of the system because I have it at Loughborough playing for the UCCE side against the first-class counties.

“I would love to give it another go at first-class level and want to be a professional cricketer. But my degree gives me a back-up plan which is reassuring.

“I am on track to get a good degree which will hopefully give me more opportunities.”

‘Chance to shine’

Priestley, who plays his club cricket for Swarkestone in the Derbyshire County League Premier Division, is targeting a successful stint playing for Staffordshire as one way of piquing the interest of the pro counties.

The former Abbotsholme School pupil made his county debut in the Showcase game against Leicestershire last summer.

And the left-handed batsman and left-arm spinner has been named in the 13-man squad for Sunday’s NCCA Twenty20 Cup opening double header against Cumbria at Moddershall & Oulton.

“I’m hopefully going to trial a bit this summer, which I didn’t do last year. And in the winter I’m hoping to go and play Grade cricket in Adelaide,” he explained.

All-rounder Nils Priestley is part of Staffordshire's 13-man squad to play Cumbria in the NCCA Twenty20 Cup.
All-rounder Nils Priestley is part of Staffordshire’s 13-man squad to play Cumbria in the NCCA Twenty20 Cup.

“Staffs is going to be a big thing for me and I am looking forward to playing for the team. However, I’ve told Andy Carr (head coach) and James Kettleborough (captain) that if I get chances to play second-team cricket that will limit me.

“They understand that and want to help me to get back to where I want to be. Andy has told me I need to widen my horizons and that will benefit my chances.

“I would love to go back and play for Derbyshire. If I’m able to score runs and take wickets, it’s hopefully going to interest other counties.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve trained with the Staffs lads and have been getting to know them – and now it’s about putting in some performances.

“People in the Derbyshire League may know that I can play. But to others I’ll just be a name they’ve seen on a scorecard. I want to show them what I’m about.”

‘Mr Versatile’

Priestley offers a versatile option for skipper Kettleborough as Staffordshire open up their National Counties Cricket Association programme.

The all-rounder believes he can fulfil several different roles for the county.

“I play in a ‘BazBall’ way and I’m interested to see what my role is going to be for Staffordshire,” added Priestley. “At Loughborough I’ve batted in the middle order in white-ball and also opened for the Midlands in the Super Fours.

“I don’t want to be labelled as just a top-order slogger. I feel the best I have for a while about my game and have confidence around being versatile.

“Whether that is getting the team off to a flier, finishing off games or being able to regain and build an innings when required.

“I’m also wanting to contribute with the ball and in the field.”

Interview by The Sentinel

Main image: Staffordshire all-rounder Nil Priestley would love another first-class stint