Andy Hayhurst was an effective batting all-rounder for a number of seasons in the county game, whose bowling lacked the necessary penetration to push for international selection. Manchester born, he began his career at Lancashire, but was released after a mediocre 1989. His move to Somerset in 1990 gave him a new lease of life batting at the pivotal spot of no.3, he scored over 1500 First-class runs at 57.74. The only time he got close to such consistent form again was 1994, the first season of his captaincy of the Cidermen. The Somerset hierarchy had been hopeful of luring John Morris from Derbyshire or James Whitaker from Leicestershire to replace the retired Chris Tavare, though when those plans fell through Hayhurst was internally promoted, as much for his calm and common sense as for the traditional reason of him being the best player in the team. The first few matches under Hayhursts guidance were disastrous, with the first eight competitive matches lost, although he then took the team on a golden run through June and into July. In early August 1996, (after a poor trot with the bat), Hayhurst was dropped from the Championship team. At the time, the Somerset hierarchy was keen to claim it was just a temporary arrangement to allow Hayhurst to regain form in the Second XI. However, despite making good runs, he never returned to the Somerset First team. In the winter of 1995-6 Hayhurst had applied for an administrative position at Old Trafford, which indicated that he knew his days at Taunton were numbered even before his poor run of form. With all that had transpired, it was hardly a surprise when he was released at the end of 1996.
A move to Derbyshire (who had just finished second in the Championship) as Second XI captain and coach / development manager seemed an ideal way to cut his teeth in coaching, as well as prolonging his First-class playing days. Hayhurst started the season in the first team, although leaving the field in severe pain after tearing a cartilage in the maiden Championship match at Canterbury was hardly an ideal way to say goodbye to First-class cricket. With the departure of the Dean Jones / Les Stillman axis, Hayhurst was promoted to acting first team coach. He then became Director of Cricket in 1998. However, in the winter of 1998-9 Hayhursts influence on first team playing matters such as selection and contracts was cited by Derbyshire skipper Dominic Cork as being one of the reasons why he planned to resign the captaincy if his demands for complete control over all first team issues were not met. Despite the Derbyshire committee initially backing Hayhurst (and fellow plaintiff Harold Rhodes), they eventually backed down to Corks threats and Hayhurst left Derbyshire by mutual consent in March 1999, despite having a year left on his contract. Hayhurst now plays his cricket for Worsley in the Liverpool league, the team in which he had first caught the eye of Lancashire many seasons before. His day job has also taken him back to his roots, in his position as Director of the Lancashire Cricket Board, an organisation which has a brief to develop cricket at all levels in the county.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)