PORT City Leagues Magpies will watch the inaugural Mid North Coast Premier Cricket League finals from the sideline.
A stretch of five losses in six games throughout the middle of the season meant they had to defeat second-placed Wingham on Saturday.
After restricting Wingham to 8-150 off their 40 overs, Magpies would have fancied their chances.
Kyle Blanch (5-29 off seven overs) was the pick of the bowlers while Jason Herdegen (1-15 off five overs) and Josh Felton (1-31 off eight overs) also chipped in.
Brendan Badenoch was miserly with the new ball and while he didn’t pick up a wicket (0-14 off eight overs), he posed plenty of questions for the top order.
Unfortunately Port City fell 14 runs short and were dismissed for 136 despite Koby Smith’s unbeaten 48.
Captain Gordon Scott said the stretch of games between round eight and 13 where they fell off the pace and could only manage one victory ultimately cost them.
“There was another game against Wauchope where we were chasing 120 that we should have won,” he said.
“Another two or three games we were chasing small totals as well so I guess you could say it is a year of what could have been.”
He was impressed with the performance of Smith throughout the season after he was promoted from third grade.
“Koby finished with an average of about 36 from four or five games with us which isn’t bad for a teenager,” Scott said.
“We could see he was scoring runs in third grade so we brought him up and he continued scoring runs for us.”
Scott admitted his team’s batting proved to be their undoing throughout most of the season and Saturday’s match was no different.
“We’ll go into next year stronger than this season, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“We were a little bit short on our batting – myself included – for most of the season.”
Meanwhile, Taree West’s five-wicket victory over Port Pirates wasn’t enough to see them sneak into fourth position.
Wauchope RSL’s better percentage (1.0788) was better than Taree’s (1.0099).
RSL captain Matt Day admitted his team “got a bit lucky.”
“I guess you could say we’ve got a free shot at the stumps this weekend,” he said.
“Over the last few weeks we haven’t done a lot wrong, so we did what we had to.”
He didn’t believe the week off heading into a semi-final would disrupt any momentum his side had created from successive wins.
“We’ll have two training sessions during the week and work really hard for the Macca,” he said.
“I don’t think we’ll lose too much momentum from having the week off.”