It’s a feeling Sunbury knows – finishing on the wrong end of a Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup grand final.
But it doesn’t get any easier.
On Saturday, Sunbury lost its fourth grand final in five seasons, unable to match a strong Gisborne team in the decider.
Not for the first time in season 2016-17, Sunbury was left to rue a poor batting performance with the game all but over after the first two days of the three-day grand final.
After the Dragons posted 9-307, Sunbury was looking for a good start. Instead, it was 5-51 at stumps on day two.
Sunbury managed to make 30 runs on day three before losing a wicket, but when it lost 3-5 the small chance of victory was snuffed out.
A fighting last-wicket partnership between Apo Stephen and Jamie Baude pushed the score to 143 before a run-out ended the match.
Stephen top-scored with 41 not out.
Sunbury playing coach Justin Nelson was disappointed with the result.
“There’s a saying that strange things happen in grand finals and I guess we were hoping for that, but we really needed a solid start and we didn’t get that,” he said. “We were on the back foot all day.
“Those [batting] collapses have been our problem all year. We’ve not been able to consistently put together big partnerships and it’s been a massive downfall for us.
“It’s not a great habit to get into, losing grand finals.”
Nelson said that while it was pleasing to see the last-wicket partnership fight, Sunbury needed more from the top order.
He said they would look to add some more batting next season.
“The top order let them down,” he said. “We definitely need some batsmen that can dig in – whether we find that from within the ranks or look outside, I don’t know.”
Nelson, who was in his first season as coach, said the club would let the result sink in before sitting down and looking at the positives of the season, much of which the side spent on top of the ladder.
He said that at this stage it looked like most of the players would return next season.