A DISAPPOINTING first innings batting display proved costly for Herefordshire as they were beaten by nine wickets by reigning champions Oxfordshire at Thame in their second Western Division 1 outing.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat on a pitch which favoured the spinners from the outset, Herefordshire were dismissed for only 143, writes Richard Prime.

This ensured that the visitors were always up against, especially after Oxfordshire recovered from 99-5 to establish a first innings lead of 163.

After opening bowler Oliver Currill (3-19) dispatched openers Matt Pardoe (10) and Ben Chapman Lilley (five) to reduce Herefordshire to 19-2, spinners Maximillian Mannering (4-56) and George Tait (3-17) got to work on the rest of the Herefordshire order.

Only Conor Smith (37), Ollie Walker (26) and Luke Powell (21) got past

20 as the Herefordshire innings subsided.

Elliott Mason (2-57) picked off home skipper Harrison Smith (12) early in the home side’s reply and then spinners Chapman Lilley (2-70) and skipper Pardoe, who returned an impressive 2-20 from 18 overs, had the home side struggling at 99-5.

But an unbeaten century from Luke Maslen (107 no), who shared a seventh wicket stand of 143 with Currill (53), guided Oxfordshire to 306-7 on the board at the end of their 90 overs.

Although Chapman Lilley (11) and Pardoe (13) were again quickly back in the pavilion, a third wicket stand of 98 between Nick Hammond (53) and Walker (60) raised hopes of a revival.

But after they were parted, only Barney Morgan (23) stayed around for long as Mannering (5-61) and Tait (3-45) again got to work and Herefordshire were dismissed for 210.

Charlie Williams (1-13) picked up an early wicket, but Oxfordshire raced to their 48-run victory target with only 11 overs bowled.

Herefordshire will next take on Cheshire at Brockhampton on July 24.