By Roy Honeybone
In a game of fluctuating fortunes Wiltshire fell agonizingly short in a nailbiting finish against Herefordshire in the Minor Counties Championship on August 18 and 19.
The conditions on day one looked ideal for seamers and Herefordshire had no hesitation in putting Wiltshire in to bat first. This was a special game for Herefordshire’s Dan Conway as he is stepping down from Minor Counties cricket after 8 years.
He immediately celebrated with a wicket in his first over! Wickets began to fall regularly with only Will Wade 30 standing firm. Will was unlucky to be run out by Conway who managed to deflect a straight drive from Ed Young on to the stumps.
At this stage Wiltshire were 55 for 4. Skipper Ed Young went on to make a useful 27, but it was only coach Tom Morton 40 who nudged the score on to a disappointing 140 all out. Dan Conway was the main destroyer with an impressive 6 for 51.
Herefordshire had similar problems against pace and Tahir Afridi 4 for 39 and Arthur Godsal 3 for 37 had Herefordshire in dire straits at 47 for 7. Pritchard 18 and Bullock 23 not out attempted to steady the ship (at this stage they were the only batsmen to make double figures) Opening bowler Hage had injured his knee quite badly when Wiltshire were batting, however he managed to get back from hospital and bat with a runner to help his side out of a predicament.
This he certainly did making a splendid 50 and enabling Herefordshire to gain an unlikely two-run first innings lead. Eventually he was one of three wickets to fall to Jake Lintott 3 for 35 as the game closed evenly at the halway stage. Herefordshire 142 all out.
Wiltshire made a slight improvement in their second innings reaching 208 all out with significant contributions from Uzi Qureshi 31, Ed Young 44, Jake Lintott 45 and Brad Dawson 28. Morgan, Pritchard and Pardoe each took three wickets for Herfordshire with wicket keeper Bullock claiming five victims (four caught and one stumped).
Wiltshire were 3 wickets down overnight on the first day meaning that a total of 23 wickets had fallen on day one.
Herefordshire began their second innings strongly with openers Pardoe 29 and Smith 33 making batting against the Wiltshire pace attack look much easier second time around as they had a partnership of 71 for the first wicket. The introduction of spinners King and Lintott soon changed all that.
The wickets began to tumble and the run rate slowed down dramatically as Wiltshire regained control. Jake Lintott 4 for 65 removed both openers with Smith bowled and Goodwin taking a superb slip catch to remove Pardoe.
Hinkley made 26, but no one else got past the teens. Joe King took yet another five, finishing with 5 for 55. With nine wickets down and 13 runs still needed enter that man Conway number 11.
The script must have been written for him as he stood firm and eventually hit the winning runs to seal a narrow 1 wicket victory for Herefordshire.