CRICKET history is littered with heroic failures – and to that list can be added Devon’s 32-run defeat by Herefordshire at Eastnor.
Asked to score 342 to win in around 145 overs had it gone the distance, Devon were 147 for two going into the final day.
A day of twists and turns included Devon captain Alex Barrow making a century and tail-enders battling to the bitter end to pull off what would have been a remarkable win.
Devon came up short – they were dismissed for 309 – but there were very few recriminations from team chief Dave Tall.
“Ultimately, being 89 all out in the first innings came back to haunt us,” said Tall.
“After that I cannot fault the team for the guts and determination shown to win from an improbable position.
“We were asked to score more than either side had made in the match – a fair bit more in fact – and very nearly did it on a wearing pitch doing all sorts.
“It was a huge shame we lost Matt Thompson late on day two as it gave Herefordshire a psychological boost and dented us a little
“Matt was batting with a fracture-dislocation of one of his fingers – he had been to hospital during the match to get patched up - and to make 52 in those circumstances showed what a gritty competitor he is and how much playing for Devon means to him.
‘Even with our backs to the wall eight wickets down we kept going for the runs. The way Matt Skeemer batted, and last man Hugo Whitlock, shows what depth we have.
“Of course it was disappointing to lose, but there were far more positives than negatives to take away.”
Barrow, 74 not out overnight, went on to reach 104 before he was removed by Dave Ball.
Devon wobbled from 183 for two to 197 for six after Barrow went, but Wayne White (28), Jamie Stephens and debutant Skeemer got the score up to 252 for eight.
Skeemer (40no) managed to wring another 57 runs out of the tail-enders before Ball (4-76) returned to knock over last man Whitlock.
Herefordshire 193 (J S Johal 82, D G Ball 32, I T Bullock 30; W A White 4-49, H M Whitlock 4-23) & 237 (M G Pardoe 44, S Ahmed 37, B E I Morgan 35no; J A Stephens 7-80), Devon 89 (Z G G Bess 32; D O Conway 4-15. B E I Morgan 2-37, T A Hage 3-13) & 3092 (A W R Barrow 104no, M W Thompson 52, M P Skeemer 40no; D G Ball 4-76, D O Conway 5-54). Herefordshire (21pts) bt Devon (4) by 32 runs.