HEREFORDSHIRE County Cricket Club’s second team players ‘must challenge themselves more in their club environment’, says head coach Steve Williams.

Williams believes the batsmen need to ‘manipulate length balls for singles to exert scoreboard pressure and understand the need for different scoring areas in different conditions’.

Williams gave his views as Herefordshire prepare to face the Worcestershire Academy this Sunday at Colwall.

The county, with Brad Wadlan in their ranks, gave another promising display in a 38-run defeat against Staffordshire 2nd, also at Colwall CC.

Staffordshire overcame the loss of Dan Ball, who was dismissed by Michael Gooch from the first ball of the match, to post 245-9 from 50 overs.

Gooch showed excellent control and the ability to shape the ball both ways, and with support from Freddie Cross, reduced Staffordshire to 26-4.

Matt Goodwin (58) and Dan Lunn (37) rescued the visitors, while Taylor Pugh (1-26), Lee Watkins (2-49) and Brad Wadlan (2-36) all played their part in stemming the flow of the counter-attack.

Tom Coleman (24) and Jack Taylor (28) laid the platform for Herefordshire’s reply at 40-0 off 10 overs.

Brad Wadlan hit 60 from 54 balls and led the chase, but his dismissal at 151-5 proved pivotal and lower order struggled as the hosts finished on 207 all out in 45.4 overs.

Max Backhouse (25) and Oli Cross (23) weighed in but seven bowled dismissals in the innings revealed a lack of batting strategy against Steve Morgan (4-44) and Matt Goodwin (3-32).

Coach Steve Williams said: "The players in the Herefordshire 2nd XI are continuing to improve in this crucial stage in their potential development into the Minor Counties XI and beyond.

“The opposition is providing the right level of challenge to drive players' improvement.

“The boys benefited hugely from the experience of Brad Wadlan in both a tactical and technical sense, and we are seeing progress with each game.

“Moving forwards it is crucial that eight to 10 of these games are played each season, and that players challenge themselves in their club training and match environments. “

“Bowlers have a smaller margin for error at this level, which necessitates more practice and control of length in practice environments. Bowlers know their plans but need to be able to execute them consistently.”