HEREFORDSHIRE have been crowned National Counties Western Division 2 champions after beating Wales while their potential rivals Cornwall went down to Shropshire.

After a match of seemingly endless fluctuations at Eastnor, Herefordshire made it three wins out of three with a 70-run success over Wales.

Wales had to chase an unlikely 268 to win in the fourth innings of an enthralling game and their prospects of victory certainly seemed remote when they were reduced to 91-6.

But after a revival spearheaded by Oskar Kolk and assisted by Kieran Bull (33) and skipper Samuel Pearce, they had rekindled their hopes by advancing to 191-7 at lunch on the final day.

The home side, however, reasserted themselves after the interval and after Pearce (22) was trapped leg before by Dave Ball (1-22), Zain Ul Hassan (2-5) followed up by penetrating the defences of Kolk (85) and then having Aneurin Norman caught behind by Ian Bullock to round off the victory.

Herefordshire had looked set for a significant score on the first day after skipper Matt Pardoe (42) and Ben Chapman-Lilley (29) posted 82 for the first wicket.

But after that, only Nick Hammond (29) made a score of much significance as spinners Bull (5-59) and Pearce (4-32) bowled the home side out for 165.

In contrast, it was Herefordshire’s pacemen who did the damage in the Wales first innings with Awais Mohammed (5-52) bagging his first five-wicket haul for the county and James Rudge (4-22) giving excellent support with his best Herefordshire figures.

Herefordshire’s initial prospects of building on their first innings lead of 37 were rocked with the loss of Chapman-Lilley in the first over of the second innings.

But Pardoe (26), Hammond (47) and Ball (27) built a foundation for the best batting of the day, a 94-run stand for the 8th wicket by Zain (69) and Barney Morgan (46) which took the home side to 239. Bull once again starred with the ball with 5-70.

When Morgan (3-24) ripped out three of the Wales top order to set up the victory.