Taylors Lakes could be haunted by its loss to Bayswater when all is said and done in its inaugural Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association season.
The Lions had their finals destiny in their own hands before Saturday, but could not seal the deal against Bayswater.
Chasing a modest 210 for victory, the Lions were bowled out for a meek 166 on home turf at Lionheart Reserve, sending them tumbling from the top six.
“We knew how important this game was for us,” Lions captain Michael Brne said.
“It could’ve set us up for the next couple of weeks and given us a bit of breathing space in the top six. But obviously, now we’re back in the bunch again, sitting seventh.”
Taylors Lakes has been consistently inconsistent since the new year.
The Lions record has been win, loss, win, loss in their past four matches.
They will need to keep that pattern going when they travel to Box Hill on Saturday – otherwise it will be season over.
“I’ve said to the boys we’ve got to turn our focus to next week and make sure we bounce back,” Brne said.
“We’ve just got to treat every game as a final now. We’ve got to win every game to make the top six.”
Taylors Lakes made an encouraging start to the run chase against Bayswater.
At 4-121, the odds of a Lions’ victory were looking good.
But they lost their last seven wickets for just 45.
“We sort of lost our way for half an hour, lost too many quick wickets and Bayswater jumped on us,” Brne said.
“They bowled really well, kept it nice and tight all day, and we just weren’t up for the challenge.”
Taylors Lakes could not recover once Shaun Guerra fell for 34 and in-form batsman Yoshan Kumara was removed cheaply for two.
Brne, who made 75 not out, hoped to build a partnership with Kumara once his 70-run stand with Guerra was broken, but it was over in the blink of an eye.
It was a courageous innings from Brne, who would not have even batted had the game been played 48 hours earlier.
“I got six stitches in my toe the week before,” Brne said.
“The way I batted on Thursday night at training, I really didn’t think I was going to go out and have a hit, but I managed to make a few runs. Not enough though – I’d swap the runs over for the win any day.”