A MUCH-improved Port City Leagues Magpies fell agonisingly short of an outright win over Port Pirates on Saturday.
Pirates (8-108) hung on to bat out the rest of the day after being set an improbable target of 219 off 35 overs.
A first innings batting collapse ensured Leagues had a 50-run lead heading into the second innings.
At Laurieton on Saturday, Leagues went out and scored their runs quicker in the second innings with captain Kyle Bray (58) leading the way.
When the skipper decided it was time to send Pirates back in, his side had compiled 8-168 after some late-order hitting from Tim Harris.
“As captain you want to lead from the front,” Bray said.
He didn’t feel he left his declaration too late.
“I wouldn’t change my decision; I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Bray said.
“The wicket was good to bat on and we knew Pirates had blokes that could score runs.
“Ryan McMahon has the ability to score a hundred and Rod Morton (49) was going well.
“To have them eight down is still a pretty good effort because the wicket was great to bat on.”
The captain was hopeful it could prove to be a turning point in his side’s season.
Pirates counterpart Shane Williams believed his side played well below what they are capable of.
“Port City played to their potential and we need to do a bit of soul-searching and respect our wicket,” he said.
“But it was good to see Rod Morton score some runs with a range of shots; he played genuine cricket shots.”