Matthew Morris and Jack Redman lead Staffordshire to easy friendly victory



Staffordshire chalked up another warm-up victory as they continued their preparations for the National Counties Cricket Association Knockout Trophy campaign.

Staffs defeated the North Staffs and South Cheshire League representative side by eight wickets at Longton today.

After the heavy rain had decimated the league programme on Saturday, Longton’s groundstaff worked wonders to ensure that the contest could go ahead.

Not only was it a chance for Staffordshire to fine-tune their one-day skills, but members of the league side were also hoping to catch the eye of the county’s director of cricket, Dave Cartledge.

The NSSCL side, captained by former Staffs skipper Sam Kelsall, opted to bat after winning the toss and posted 220 all out.

Staffordshire, under the leadership of Spencer Byatt, were already on course for victory before a rain shower revised their target in the closing stages.

They were ultimately left needing 177 from 41 overs… and crossed the line in comfort.

Matthew Morris’ half-century and a fine knock from Jack Redman eased them past the post with 16 balls remaining.

NSSCL opener Tom Steele, playing on his home ground, impressed in the early stages with 41, but it was captain Kelsall who orchestrated their progress in the first part of the encounter.

The Moddershall & Oulton batsman compiled 53 before he became one of Zen Malik’s three victims. Kelsall hit six fours in his 93-ball innings.

The NSSCL saw their innings drift to a degree as leg-spinner Malik and slow left-armer Paul Byrne bowled impressively.

They slipped from 101-2 to 153-6, but Alex Coates entered the fray to liven up the innings once more.

Coates cleared the ropes four times in his rapid 42, but fell to Rob Hemmings, who cleaned up the tail, to leave the NSSCL side short of what they would have considered to be a par score.

Malik finished with 3-39, with Hemmings taking 3-45.

Staffordshire, who had beaten Shropshire at Himley in their previous 50-over friendly, saw openers Myles Coughlan and James Middleton put on 40 for the opening wicket.

But both were dismissed to leave Staffs on 67-2 and provide the NSSCL with hope that they could make some serious inroads.

However, Morris and Redman shut the door on those aspirations with an unbroken stand – either side of the rain delay – to ease Staffordshire to their target.

Morris, who made a good impact in his debut Championship season in 2019, took the attack to the bowlers early on and was then content to keep the scoreboard ticking over as he ended up unbeaten on 69, hitting seven fours and two sixes.

Redman’s running between the wickets was a feature of his 44 not out. The Audley man hit two fours.

NSSCL skipper Kelsall utilised his bowling options, but couldn’t find another breakthrough.

Staffordshire will play Shropshire again in a friendly on Sunday at Whitchurch.

Their first Knockout Trophy Group One game will be played on Sunday, June 13 when they make the trip to Cockermouth to take on Cumbria.

Staffordshire’s group also features Cheshire, Shropshire and Northumberland.





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