WILTSHIRE cricket player-coach Tom Morton anticipates a close encounter against Herefordshire this weekend in the county’s latest Unicorns Championship Western Division fixture.

Morton’s men earned their first three-day format win since June 2017 when defeating Wales by three wickets at Pontarddulais two weeks ago.

That win promoted Wiltshire into the top half of the Western Division, though results elsewhere have since dropped the county to seventh.

Despite this, Morton wants to see his men continue to climb the three-day table and with two home fixtures against Herefordshire and Oxfordshire remaining, the county boss is hopeful of a top-half finish.

He said: “Herefordshire are one place ahead of us in the table, so I think it will be a fairly even game.

“I don’t know too much about Herefordshire, I haven’t played against them for a couple of years.

“However, they source a lot of their players from the Birmingham Premier League - which is a really strong league.

“No doubt they will have some good players like every minor county does.”

Wiltshire are boosted by the fact that three players will be in familiar territory come Sunday as Salisbury’s South Wiltshire CC hosts their latest three-day challenge.

Also featuring for Wiltshire will be star youngster Jack Haines, whose match-winning knock of 86 during the club’s second innings earned his side a crucial win across the border.

“We’ve put a lot of emphasis this year on our younger players,” said Morton.

“One of the guys that has played well is Jack Haines – he got man of the match for the first team last week in Wales.

“He got 85 in the second innings and played really well.

“The other positive is Luke Evans, who’s currently the fourth leading wicket taker in minor county cricket this year.

“The three guys above him have all played first class cricket recently so he’s doing really well.

“There have been other isolated moments as well where the other younger players have made strong contributions.

“The challenge for us now is to do this on a more regular basis.”

Winning matches breeds confidence and that statement is no different in Wiltshire’s case – who could mathematically jump back up into the top half of the table with a win this weekend.

Morton added: “We’ve got a bit of confidence in the team now. We’ve actually had the same game for four games on the spin now.

“By that I mean we’ve bowled first on a lively wicket and bowled our opposition out cheaply. The end result has got better and better as the season has gone on.”