MANAGER Tom Bevan admits Herefordshire County Cricket Club 2nd team’s 143-run defeat Gloucestershire Academy was a ‘tough lesson’ for his players.

But Bevan thinks it will prove beneficial for Herefordshire’s youngsters ahead of matches at Colwall against Staffordshire on August 14 and Worcestershire Academy on August 31.

“It was a tough lesson but,one that can give our young Herefordshire talent an insight into what it is like to play against those that are playing at a professional level week in, week out,” said Bevan, a former Wormelow player.

“Gloucestershire were 180 for 3 after 40 overs and we had contained them well on a good deck and in tough conditions. But the wheels came off in the last 10 overs and they piled on 140 with some big hitting.”

Tom Smith (93), Gareth Roderick (87) and Joe Barrett (70 not out) led Gloucestershire to a daunting 323-4 in last Thursday’s friendly at Brockhampton.

Ludlow’s Richard Taylor (46) and Colwall’s Tom Coleman (46) laid the foundations for Herefordshire’s reply with an 82-run opening stand.

But Herefordshire then lost five wickets for 60 runs and were restricted to 180-9.

Bevan said: “Sixteen-year-old Barney Morgan bowled with impressive control rarely moving off line and his steady seamers picked up the prize wicket of Roderick who is Gloucestershire's number 1 choice wicket-keeper bat returning from injury.

“Leg spinner, Jack Aldous-Fountain settled in well also and was unlucky to go wicketless.”

Bevan has also responded to criticism of 'non-Herefordshire' players appearing for the team in the previous two matches,

“The reasoning for this is a realisation of where we are as a county in respect of young cricketers with higher ambitions above club level,” said Bevan.

“The county 2nd XI is essentially an under-23 side which is acting as a bridge between under -17 representative and club cricket to Minor Counties level.

“ The reality is that Herefordshire is a small county resulting in a small pool of player's capable of playing at a higher level.

Prior to 2013, there was no form of higher level cricket between under-17 and Minors Counties cricket which resulted in a drop off in the progression of promising young Herefordshire cricketers.

This is not the case with all as those that managed to play at the top level in league cricket with Brockhampton have progressed immensely such as Ben Stebbings, Will Barrett and Jamie Mcilroy. However, it has become clear in the running of the 2nd XI that a certain majority of players between the ages of 18 to 23 who cannot commit or do not hold the ambition to play at a higher level aside from that at their clubs. “