HEREFORDSHIRE struggled to come to terms with a strong Dorset spin attack as they went down to a double defeat in Sunday’s National Counties T20 group encounter at Sherborne School.

On a wicket which turned expansively from the outset, Herefordshire’s batting was unable to post a sufficiently large total in either match to secure an early season win.
But Herefordshire at least got some cricket under their belt on a day when the majority of matches in the competition fell victim to the recent unseasonably wet weather.

In the first game, Herefordshire were invited to bat first and made a promising start with openers Ollie Walker (10) and Connor Smith (12) started brightly.

Skipper Matt Pardoe (12) helped to take the score to 35 before the second wicket fell.
But after that, only Alex Hinkley (13) got into double figures as Herefordshire were dismissed for just 83.

Roshan Venkataraman (1-17) picked up an early wicket and then Alex Russell, allowed by his contracted club Northamptonshire to play to get some early season match time, claimed three scalps in quick succession, two of them coming from excellent catches by Nick Hammond and James Rudge, as Dorset dipped to 42-4.

Russell claimed 3-9 from his four overs and with Pardoe conceding just 11 from his four, Herefordshire kept up the pressure right to the end as Dorset edged home by six wickets with only five balls remaining.

Although Herefordshire again gave little away when Dorset batted first in the second game, the home side still put together 130-4 from their allotted overs.

But when Pardoe (16) and Walker (19) posted 33 for the first wicket before being separated from the last ball of the sixth over, Herefordshire seemed to be well in the game.

After that, however, the Dorset spinners again held sway as only Hammond (19 not out) got into double figures as Herefordshire closed on 80-8.

Herefordshire are next in action over the May Day Bank Holiday, travelling to Sandford to take on Devon on Sunday, April 30 and then moving on the following day to play Cornwall at Werrington.