FORMER Herefordshire batsman Alex Milton played a key role for a Worcestershire Academy Xl as his current team-mates beat his former ones by 77 runs at Brockhampton.

Milton, one of four professionals in the Worcestershire line-up, stroked an impressive 81 from 84 balls to help his side set up a challenging target of 304-7 from their 50 overs.

Despite another impressive innings from Zain Ul Hassan (66), the task proved beyond Herefordshire, who finished on 199-7 after rain had reduced their target to 276 and their innings to 42 overs.

Worcestershire made a fine start after winning the toss with another former Herefordshire player, Josh Dell, in fluent form as he compiled 67 from just 48 balls with 11 fours and a six before being bowled by teenage leg-spinner Alex Russell (2-42).

Milton then led the way in the core of the innings before a late flourish from Ross Whiteley – 39 from 33 balls with three fours and two sixes – hoisted the total past 300.

Some tight bowling from Dave Ball (3-19) in the closing stages helped to mitigate the damage for Herefordshire.

The Herefordshire reply made a stuttering start with skipper Matt Pardoe caught behind for just five and Nick Hammond (11) brilliantly caught by Whiteley off Ben Twohig (2-40).

With Connor Smith yorked by Dylan Pennington (2-39) and Alex Hinkley bowled hitting across the line at Twohig, Herefordshire had subsided to 62-4.

But Zain, following on from his half-century against Oxfordshire the previous week, was joined by Ball (35) and the pair worked hard to bring some respectability to the home side’s score in a fifth wicket stand of 79.

After their dismissals, Tom Hage (30) also batted well but Herefordshire were always behind the rate and finished well short of victory against strong opponents.

Herefordshire’s next outing is on Sunday when they entertain a Gloucestershire Academy side – again likely to contain a handful of professionals – at Eastnor in a 50-over match which begins at 11am.