WARRNAMBOOL Blue’s narrow loss to Portland yesterday ended its Warrnambool under 17 Country Week grand final hopes.
The Andrew Bridge-coached side suffered a one-wicket loss at Reid Oval.
Bridge said the best result Warrnambool Blue could now hope for was third.
Warrnambool Gold and Portland and West Wimmera and Hamilton will play in today’s preliminary finals.
The two winners will progress to tomorrow’s grand final.
Bridge said Warrnambool Blue struggled with the bat against Portland, making 76.
Portland’s Grayson Widmar (4-15) and Jay Moody (3-16) were the destroyers.
Warrnambool Blue had its opposition in trouble but a four in the final over helped Portland to 79.
Warrnambool Blue went into bat for a second time with a view of bettering its percentage and sneaking a preliminary final berth.
It made 5-50.
Bridge said losing wickets made that task too hard.
He said he was proud of his team’s efforts across the first three days.
“They gave it their all,” Bridge said. “There are two days to go, so hopefully we can pinch third.”
Bridge said his bowlers kept the side in the match against Portland.
“They had a bad day with the bat today but bowled extremely well,” he said.
“Matt Price bowled extremely well. He got three wickets and James Willsher and Jye Turland got two each for not much.”
Warrnambool Gold had to work hard to keep its unbeaten record intact, recording a hard-fought nine-run win against Horsham yesterday.
Consistent skipper Ben Threlfall contributed 81 as Warrnambool Gold posted 6-164.
Warrnambool Gold coach John Houston said Horsham gave his side a fright.
Horsham was all out for 155 in reply.
“They were cruising. Jacob O’Beirne made 60 and Blake Young batted well too,” Houston said.
“Ben Rantall took two one-handed catches at mid-wicket and two direct-hit run-outs was the difference between the two sides.”
West Wimmera defeated Wimmera-Mallee by 14 runs, while Hamilton recorded a 40-run win over South West.
Captain Tim Goodman top scored with 61 as Hamilton made 156.
South West was all out for 116 in reply, with Hamilton duo Duncan Cameron (4-15) and Joel Tully (3-13) doing the damage with the ball.
In other matches today, Wimmera-Mallee will play South West and Horsham meets Warrnambool Blue.
Those matches will help determine the competition’s final standings.