AN opportunity to take down the defending champions at one of Australia's most treasured sporting venues? Monday was a great day of possibilities for the Central West Wranglers.
Sadly, Central West learned that the ACT Aces were the defending champions of the Plan B Regional Bash for a good reason.
The Wranglers went down by six wickets to the Aces at the Sydney Cricket Ground, as the Central West men once again coming up a game short of a grand final experience at the state's home of cricket.
The Aces would go on to defend their title in the Twenty20 competition in later in the day with a 33 run victory over the Lake Mac Attack in the decider.
"We were trying our best and just couldn't get through it. We all feel very blessed though, and it's a privilege to play at the SCG. Some of the best players to ever play the game have called that place home," Wrangers' Jameel Qureshi said.
"As I said to the guys though it's such a blessing to be able to play there and a great reward for not just them but for their families and parents who have driven them around for years and helped them to reach this point.
"It's not just for yourself, it's for everyone that's put time and effort into you. It's a real honour."
Wranglers won the toss and chose to bat but a classy Aces attack gave the Wranglers very little to work with as the Central West squad finished all out for 91.
Blake Dean (11) provided some early fireworks against his former side with a six and a four before he fell, along with fellow opener Henry Shoemark (1).
We always felt that we were in the hunt. We had a few chances that we put down, which hurt, but ultimately not scoring the runs was what hurt us the most.- Wranglers skipper Jameel Qureshi
Ben Mitchell (2) didn't get the chance to fire up although the Bathurst duo of Nic Broes (17) and Qureshi (12) tried to instil some hope back into the innings.
No other Wrangler would be able to match those two scores though, and only Connor Slattery (11) would reach double figures.
Ryan Peacock (4), Adam Ryan (8), Joey Coughlan (2) and Morrish (3) fell quickly while Hugh Le Lievre finished on 6 not out.
The Aces' Scott Murn and Mark Solway finished with identical bowling figures of 3-11 as they shredded Central West's top and middle order.
Wickets from the Wranglers' Ed Morrish (2-23), Mitch Taylor (1-9) and Le Lievre (1-17) did have the Aces at 4-54 at one stage during the pursuit. But an unbeaten partnership from Josh Staines (30 not out) and Solway (23 not out) would get the Aces home with just under four overs to spare.
Qureshi said there was some confidence of a comeback after Morrish claimed the fourth wicket.
"We always felt that we were in the hunt. We had a few chances that we put down, which hurt, but ultimately not scoring the runs was what hurt us the most," he said.
The Central West Wranglers have made the semi-finals in three of the seven regional bashes - losing to the ACT Aces on every occasion.
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