ereforHEREFORDSHIRE’s hopes of regaining the NCCA 50-over trophy they last won in 2016 ended with a 39-run quarter-final defeat against Wales at Port Talbot.

Herefordshire were in contention for most of the day but ultimately dropped catches and sloppy fielding cost them dear.

Wales made a flying start after winning the toss and choosing the bat with Herefordshire seamer James Rudge’s first two overs going for 30 runs amidst a flurry of boundaries and extras.

But the introduction of experienced all-rounder Dave Ball into the attack soon evened things up.

Ball (4-39) took three wickets cheaply in his first spell as he confused the home batsmen with subtle variations of pace.

Barney Morgan (2-47) also picked up a couple of wickets, although home batsman Connor Brown (85) stood firm.

Brown was eventually dismissed by a fine boundary catch by Connor Smith off skipper Matt Pardoe (2-22) as Wales were dismissed for 240.

In reply, Herefordshire lost the crucial wicket of Pardoe for just 11 and although his opening partner Smith played some good strokes in his 31, Herefordshire struggled to 72-4.

But Nick Hammond, whose 42 made him the top-scorer for the fourth time in Herefordshire’s five knock-out matches – in addition to a championship century – teamed up with Ball (35) to get the visitors back on track.

At 147-4, Herefordshire seemed well in contention, but Hammond miscued a drive to mid-on and when Ball was bowled by one which kept low shortly afterwards, the innings was again in trouble.

This time, there was to be no revival as the Herefordshire lower middle-order was swept away. Some powerful strokes by Rudge (31 not out) kept hopes up but ultimately Herefordshire were dismissed 39 short of victory.

The county side are back in action on Thursday when they visit New Road to take on Worcestershire in a showcase friendly fixture.

On Thursday 22nd July, they take on the 2018 Twenty20 Blast champions ahead of the Royal London Cup which starts on Sunday 25th July against Kent.

Whilst entry will be free for paid up Herefordshire and Worcestershire members, admission will be by e-ticket only.

Tickets for non-members will be priced at £5 for adults, £1 for children aged 17 or under and ticket booking will be online via the WCCC website later this week.

WCCC can also offer hospitality in The View Suite where members and non-members alike can purchase a day ticket for £35 which includes ground entry, a buffet lunch and afternoon tea. Groups can purchase a discounted table of 6 for £195. The showcase match should be an exciting affair, with it being the first fixture between the two in 17 years.