DESPITE a narrow victory over their neighbouring county Herefordshire Short Mat bowls exited at the knockout stage of the national Inter County Championship.

Their A team played in a qualifying group with a strong Hampshire side who won all of their matches to comfortably win the group.

The race for the runners-up spot was, however, a thrilling battle between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire who each defeated the fourth team in the group, Avon, both home and away.

With Herefordshire having won the home match they travelled to Gloucester for the final group match needing 15 points from the 40 available to secure second place in the group.

The result of a tense match went down to the last end before Herefordshire secured the points they needed to snatch the runners-up spot by a single point from their opponents.

In the knockout stage Herefordshire defeated Worcestershire in the first stage before falling to Buckinghamshire, in the first ever match between the two counties.

The Premier team had a disjointed qualification stage as a result of Gloucestershire’s difficulty in fulfilling their fixtures which led to one match remaining unplayed.

Despite a strong start with an away win against Avon the return fixture was disappointingly lost followed by defeats in both matches against Oxfordshire.

A comfortable win in the home match against Gloucestershire was not enough to prevent Avon finishing in second place in the group behind Oxfordshire.

Herefordshire progressed to the consolation knockout competition where they suffered defeat to West Sussex.