Haygarth was a right-handed batsman who made 136 appearances in first-class cricket spanning the 1844 and 1861 seasons. He scored 3042 runs in 247 innings with a highest score of 97, one of seven half-centuries that he achieved. He made 65 catches as a fielder. He was an occasional bowler, roundarm and apparently right-arm medium pace. He took only 19 wickets in total but did have a best analysis of 6-37 with 10 wickets in the match.
Haygarth achieved lasting fame after he retired from playing as a cricket writer, historian and biographer. He is renowned as the compiler of Frederick Lillywhite's Cricket Scores and Biographies, published in 15 volumes between 1862 and 1879. Volume 1 covering the 1744 to 1826 seasons is by far the most significant as it is the main source of reference data for late 18th century cricket.