HEREFORDSHIRE made Wiltshire battle all the way before succumbing to a second straight Minor Counties Championship defeat at Salisbury.

A fine century by skipper Matt Pardoe and a six-wicket haul by experienced David Ball were not enough to turn the tide in favour of the visitors who went down by four wickets just before tea on the final day.

Herefordshire were again disappointing with the bat after losing the toss and being put in, with a hangover from their second-innings capitulation in the defeat against Oxfordshire still in evidence.

The one notable exception was Pardoe, who defied the effects of a nasty stomach upset to bat through the entire innings for an unbeaten 109.

But there was little support for the skipper, other than from key all-rounder Pete Burgoyne (54) who share in a fifth-wicket stand of 120 with Pardoe.

Herefordshire were all out for 259 but an early wicket apiece for Dan Conway (1-51) and Ball (6-82) in the Wiltshire reply briefly raised hopes.

However, the home side rallied with good contributions from Jack Haines (94), skipper Ed Young (90) and wicketkeeper Tom Morton (74) taking them to a first-innings lead of 112.

Throughout, however, Ball bowled superbly in a marathon 31.2 over stint which brought him his best Herefordshire return.

Five Herefordshire wickets went down in their second innings before the deficit was overcome, raising fears of an early finish.

But Benny Ellis-Dabrowski held the side together with his best score for the county, compiling a fine 80 as, in partnership with Burgoyne (47) and then Tom Cummins (29), he helped the visitors build a lead.

The last three wickets, though, went down for just a single run as a target of 145 was set.

With Burgoyne dismissing Haines, caught behind by Ian Bullock, from the first ball of the innings, a dramatic victory might have been in sight.

But although teenage leg-spinner Alex Russell (3-36) and Burgoyne (2-29) chipped away, the home side reached their target with something to spare.