HEREFORDSHIRE fell agonisingly short of both victory and a place in the knock-out stages of the NCCA 50-over competition when they were beaten by just three runs by Suffolk at Colwall.
Their victory means that Suffolk join Norfolk in the last eight of the competition.

Suffolk had only once before visited Herefordshire in this competition and that game at Brockhampton back in 1995 produced one of the more remarkable results in the county’s history.

On that occasion Suffolk batted first and posted an impressive 301-8 from their 50 overs.

But Herefordshire, led by current coach Richard Skyrme, scorched past their target with more than six overs to spare without losing a wicket as Martin Weston (157 not out) and Harshad Patel (126 not out) dominated the visiting attack.

Suffolk won the toss on Sunday and elected to make first use of the Stowe Lane batting track and scored 244-9 from their allocated 50 overs.
George Rhodes led the way with 90 off 113 balls and was supported by wicket-keeper Jacob Marston with a quick-fire 37 from 31 deliveries faced.

James Rudge (3-45 from 10 overs) and Adam Hines (3-47 off 10 overs) led the bowling attack from Herefordshire as they attempted to contain their opponents to a target that could be chased down in the shadow of the Malvern Hills.

T Cornall (2-59) and skipper Matt Pardoe (1-33) kept on picking up wickets, but Suffolk were able to post what turned out ultimately to be a winning score of 244-9.

Herefordshire were given a chance of victory thanks to a fine partnership of 75 between Ollie Walker (82) and Luke Powell.

The pair came together after Herefordshire had slipped to 125-6, playing an array of orthodox and improvised shots as they reduced the target at a rate of better than a run a ball.

Even when Powell was given out leg-before a run short of his first county half-century, an innings which had included seven fours and a six from 37 balls, Walker continued to plough on.

But the pressure was intensified by Herefordshire’s need to win the match well inside their allotted 50 overs if they were to progress to the knock-out stages.

And Walker perished, caught just inside the boundary to be ninth out, going for his eighth six in another impressive display.

Although the chance of progressing had gone, Sam Keeling-Wright and Adam Hines continued to reduce the deficit before Keeling-Wright was caught just inside the rope, going for the boundary which would have brought victory.

The home county will now turn their attention their NCCA Championship Western Division Two campaign when they head to Corsham on Sunday, July 7, to face Wiltshire in their opening three-day match of the season.