Lake Illawarra has had their dream of playing on the hallowed SCG turf dashed, crashing to a 101-run defeat to Country Cup heavyweights Merewether on the Central Coast yesterday.
The Lakers were hoping to exact revenge for the infamous tie played between the two sides, also at the semi-final stage in 2007, which saw Merewether advance to the SCG Country Cup final on a countback.
But there were no such fine measures involved this time as Josh Geary plundered 107 in Merewether's 6-264 from a shortened 44 overs before starring with the ball at Woongarrah Oval.
Asked to score at more than a run-a-ball from the outset against an attack boasting former Australia A quick Mark Cameron, Lake Illawarra was dismissed for 163 in the 37th over.
Tony McCabe top scored with 52 and Aaron Henry (33) provided valuable support, while Geary finished with 3-38.
"We set our goal on it [making the final four] at the start of the year and we knew if we played well on the first day against Tuggeranong we could beat them and we did that," Lakers skipper Shane Cody said.
"But the Newcastle side was just a level above us. We lost the toss on a really flat wicket and they took full advantage of it."
It is the fifth SCG Country Cup final Merewether has reached in the past seven years, setting up a February 3 stoush with Albury Wodonga. The Riverina powerhouse edged past Hamilton-Wickham's 9-161 with five wickets and more than three overs to spare.
Lake Illawarra (246) stormed into the final four of the statewide knockout competition after coasting to a 50-run win over Tuggeranong (196) on Thursday.