Matt Skeemer, whose four wickets in four balls was a record for Devon in any format<br>credit: Conradcopy Ltd


DEVON’S National Counties T20 programme ended on a low note with a double dose of defeats at the hands of Herefordshire.

Both counties went into the back-to-back appointment at North Devon CC without a chance of qualifying for the competition finals day at Tring CC in Hertfordshire later this month.

The only thing at stake was the Group Two wooden spoon that Herefordshire comfortably avoided.

The only highlight for Devon came when seamer Matt Skeemer performed the hat-trick and then added another for the even rarer four wickets in four balls.

Skeemer modestly said he felt it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time.

“I think it is one of the benefits of bowling the very last over, but still very pleased with the achievement,” said Skeemer.

Dave Tall, the Devon team manager, said Skeemer’s four in a row was probably the highlight of the entire T20 programmeABOVE AVERAGE: James Horler

 “Our group matches have not produced the results we wanted and despite Matt’s efforts we did not win this game either,” said Tall.

“But when things are not going well you learn which players are up for it and Matt is definitely one of them.

 “It was the last over of their innings and the final four balls. That really is keeping going to the end."

Devon ended their T20 campaign with just one win in six completed games, a narrow one against Cornwall in round one. Both games against Dorset were cancelled due to poor weather.

Tall said individuals have put in some good performances at times, but consistency is largely lacking.

“Only one of our batsmen has averaged more than 20 in the T20 games and that’s not good enough,” said Tall.

“It is not that we don’t have good periods in games, but that when we do we don’t press home our advantage.

“Twenty20 is a cruel format as things can change quickly and if you drop off the pace you will suffer.

“What have we learned from the experience? That not everyone relishes the fight when things get tough.”

James Horler, whose average of 26.0 is the one Tall referred to, top scored with 49 in a game one total of 140 for six. Adam Small (23) was at the other end during a 67-run stand of the first wicket. 

Herefordshire raced to an eight-wicket win with 17 balls to spare.

Devon were set 172 to win in game two and despite Sam Read’s 41 they lost by 40 runs.

Devon 140-6 (J D Horler 49, A J Small 23, B A Beaumont 19no; A Abbas 2-23, J W Rudge 2-29), Herefordshire 143-2 (M G Pardoe 36, P G Harris 63no, O J Walker 22). Herefordshire bt Devon by 8 wkts.

Herefordshire 171-8 (M G Pardoe 61, P G Harris 25, O J Walker 37, N A Hammond 22; M P Skeemer 4-39, C J Haggett 2-21, B A Beaumont 2-27), Devon 131-9 (S O Read 41; J W Rudge 3-22). Herefordshire bt Devon by 40 runs.