Staffordshire must find batting answers, says Dave Cartledge

Staffordshire's director of cricket Dave Cartledge.

Dave Cartledge says Staffordshire must quickly remedy their batting issues if they are to make an impact in the NCCA Knockout Trophy.

Staffs have struggled with the bat on the whole in their two Group Four matches so far in the National Counties Cricket Association’s 50-over competition.

They mustered just 188 at Wales in their opening clash, although the bowlers produced a fine display to earn Staffordshire the win.

And last weekend, Staffs fell to 24-3 against Wiltshire at Smethwick before half-centuries from Michael Hill and Matthew Morris led a recovery to 214 all out.

However, that didn’t prove to be enough as Wiltshire eased to a seven-wicket win with six overs to spare.

That win and defeat means Staffordshire head to Bashley to play Dorset on Sunday knowing they need to win to keep their hopes of clinching a top-two place alive.

‘Searching for a solution’

Director of cricket Cartledge insists that putting a score on the board will go along way to bouncing back from the Wiltshire defeat.

“The batting is the problem at the minute,” said Cartledge. “We have to give the bowlers a chance, but we’re putting them under pressure.

“The game we won at Wales, we should have scored more runs, but the bowlers performed exceptionally well. Wales didn’t bat that brilliantly – there were a few bad shots.

“Against Wiltshire we didn’t get enough runs on that ground. That allowed them to see off Tom Brett rather than them being under pressure and having to take a risk.

Staffordshire batsman Matthew Morris walks off after making 71 not out in the NCCA Knockout Trophy defeat by Wiltshire.
Staffordshire batsman Matthew Morris walks off after making 71 not out in the NCCA Knockout Trophy defeat by Wiltshire.

“Batting-wise we have to play better. We’re probably going too hard too early and not finding the gaps. I certainly think we can do a lot better.

“How we played in winning the T20 Cup, someone could cop it in a match – hopefully that’s going to be Sunday.

“Dorset will be out to make sure we don’t perform against them, and it’s certainly a challenge for us.”


Cartledge says that it has taken him aback at how Staffordshire have failed to show off their true batting potential in the opening two 50-over matches.

And he says that for the batting unit to work, it’s up to individuals to play their part.

“It has surprised me that we haven’t scored more runs,” added Cartledge. “I thought one or two more batsmen would have come to the party.

“You need someone to get a hundred or a high 80 and then people can chip in around them.

“That’s an individual thing and it’s the principles of being a batsman – you are there to score runs.

“Hilly and Matt played really well on Sunday, but it’s a difficult position to come in when you’re 24-3.

“They had to repair the damage and you go on the cautious side. They led the recovery, but after that we should have probably made 230 or 240. But that still might not have been enough.”

‘Big boost’

Staffordshire are boosted for their long weekend trip as all-rounder Nils Priestley returns.

Priestley was forced to withdraw from last weekend’s team which lost to Wiltshire at Smethwick because of injury.

However, he is now back in the travelling party to Bashley, replacing Scott Winnington in the 12-man squad.

The news is a big boost for Staffs after Priestley’s impact in helping the county to win the National Counties Cricket Association Twenty20 Cup last month.

Nils Priestley is back in the squad for the trip to Dorset.
Nils Priestley is back in the squad for the trip to Dorset.

Priestley was instrumental in Staffordshire’s run to the silverware, which included scoring 147 not out against Berkshire in the finals day semi, before hitting 57 and taking four wickets in the showpiece against Cornwall.

“I think the balance of the team is right,” explained Cartledge. “We missed Nils last weekend, but anyone would miss him.

“He bowls left-arm spin and he played a big part for us in the Twenty20s. Whether he has the same impact in the 50-over games, we will see.

“It might be someone else’s turn to grab the spotlight.”

‘Must do better’

Dorset have only played one match so far, but managed to bank a victory.

They crushed Staffordshire by nine wickets in last year’s Group Four game at West Bromwich Dartmouth and will be seen as the favourites to top the group this time around.

“We’ve certainly got to play a lot better than we did against Dorset last summer,” said Cartledge.

“Hopefully they will expect us to roll over, but we’ve got a point to prove. We go into every game, at whatever level, wanting to win – and we’ll give everything to do that on Sunday.”

Main image: Staffordshire’s director of cricket Dave Cartledge is looking for a batting improvement.