City United, a team draped in failure in recent times, are now the resurrected – losing to Old Boys in the competition’s final round but still making the finals.
The four-wicket loss to Old Boys at Riverside 1 on Sunday mattered naught for City, after South Tamworth beat North Tamworth at No.1 Oval.
Awaiting City is a minor semi-final clash against Souths this weekend.
City United skipper Brad Smith said it had been more than a decade since the side last made the finals.
In addressing that blight, City also rebounded from a disastrous run over the two previous season, in which their sole win came in round one of 2015-16.
Smith said: “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. It’s been a long time coming.
“[It’s] a new competition now in the finals series, and we’ll see how we go.”
Commenting on third-placed Souths, Smith said: “Still another tough team to beat. They have two NSW Country players in Grothy [Tom Groth] and Tom O’Neill.
“They are both class players who will be well supported by their teammates.”
For minor premiers Old Boys, a major semi-final against West Tamworth awaits. Old Boys have already won the Twenty20 and one-day titles this season.
On Sunday the reigning four-time premiers passed City’s 170 total with six wickets down and then lost their last four wickets for no runs.
City United won the toss and batted on Saturday. The in-form Smith top-scored with 50, followed by Scott Brennnan (46).
Old Boys skipper Ben Middlebrook claimed 4-24 off six overs.
In replay, Old Boys openers Simon Norvill (44) Abel Carney (40) top-scored as they compiled an opening stand of 88.
Jack McVey led the way for City’s attack with 4-40 off 14 overs, while Tait Jordan, Joey Mead and Brennan all claimed two scalps.