A SECOND disastrous batting collapse in the match consigned Hereford to defeat in their Minor Counties Championship clash with Wales at Abergavenny.

Although the victory target of 349 looked beyond them, the visitors looked sure to gain a draw when they were 183-3 at tea on the final day with newcomer Zain Bukhari on 83 not out and Shameer Ahmed, who had scored a first-innings half-century, at the other end.

However, both were dismissed by Tomos Jones (4-45) in the first over after the interval and after that the remainder of the innings fell away.

Only two players, Barney Morgan (17) and George Pritchard (16), even managed double figures as the last seven wickets went down for 53 runs to leave Herefordshire the losers by 112 runs.

Earlier, after Wales had won the toss and chosen to bat, the Herefordshire bowlers, led by Morgan (3-44), Pritchard (2-33) and Tom Hage (2-50), had restricted the home side well as, with wicket-keeper Ian Bullock claiming five victims, they made 280.

Then Herefordshire, with debutant Connor Smith (96) and Shameer (63) impressing, looked set for a good first innings lead at 250-5.

The first innings collapse, however, was even worse than its second innings successor, as the last five wickets went down for just 10 runs.

Herefordshire again looked like keeping their hosts’ reply under control and, at 233-7, a gettable target seemed in sight.

But Joe Voke marshalled the latter stages of the innings well and his 126 ensured that the home side could declare on 328-8.

Morgan (3-59) was again the pick of the attack but gained good support from the returning Greg Leighton, who bowled economically to post 2-58 from 21 overs.

Although Herefordshire lost skipper Kieran Smith (16) and Mahaaz Ahmed early on, Connor Smith, who added 65 to his first innings score led the way once more.

With three wickets, too, the Kidderminster man made a strong debut showing.

His partnership of 151 with Bukhari looked like helping Herefordshire avoid a loss but the collapse ensured it was not to be.

The county side now finish ninth in the table and will line up against Devon, Cornwall, Wales and this season’s basement side Shropshire in next year’s Western Division second tier.