Lake Illawarra will have to wait another year to realise a long-held dream of playing at the SCG after they lost to Tamworth in the SCG Cup semi-final yesterday.
Opener Tony McCabe described the defeat as bitterly disappointing.
"This is the third time we've made the semis and we had a full squad available and we've been in reasonably good form but we just didn't put it together this weekend," McCabe said.
"We've had a couple of heartbreaking losses. We had the tie five or six years ago with Mereweather and lost on countback; we really thought this year would the year we could go all the way.
"To come third in the state again is still a great achievement but it would have been that nice to go one further and make the SCG - that's what we're in the competition for."
A hard-fought 105 from Tamworth No 4 Adam Jones proved crucial after Tamworth won the toss and elected to bat.
Mark Ulcigrai did the damage for Lake with the ball with 4-30 off 10 overs while Greg Connor chipped in with 3-45 to bowl Tamworth out for 198.
In reply Lake got off to a terrible start - on the back of 5-18 from Tamworth opener Col Smyth, Lake had struggled to 6-40 after 18 overs.
Skipper Shane Cody and Connor mounted a mini-resurgence, combining for 48 before Cody was run out for 23.
Ulcigrai contributed 20 as Connor went on to pass 50 before Lake were all out for 151.
"We were a bit disappointed with our batting . . . it just wasn't as good as it can be," McCabe said.
"We bat all the way to number 10 and just didn't put it together over the weekend. We were reasonably happy with 198; we really thought that was gettable.
"We bowled really well today to keep them to under 200 and Mark Ulcigrai got 4-30 off 10 and was outstanding but in the end we let one bloke [Jones] get 100 and that hurt us."
With the SCG dream dashed, McCabe said they were determined to atone for the disappointment in the remainder of the South Coast Cricket season.
"We won't [be in] the one-day comp so now we're looking to win the 20-20 and two-day comp to finish the year."