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.

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 Herefordshireā€™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.

Earlier, Herefordshire had made a promising start to their run chase with Ben Chapman-Lilley (24) and Taylor Cornall (48) posting 55 for the first wicket before a middle-order collapse set them back.

At the start of the day, after Suffolk had won the toss and elected to bat, the visitors made a swift start before James Rudge (3-45) pegged them back.

George Rhodes, however, anchored the innings well with 90 so that although Hines (3-47), Cornall (2-59) and skipper Matt Pardoe (1-33) kept on picking up wickets, Suffolk were able to post what turned out ultimately to be a winning score of 244-9.