The Northern Inland Bolters finished their Plan B Regional Bash campaign on a high note, after chasing 204 to beat the Macquarie Coast Stingers in their final match at Port Macquarie on Sunday.
The win was not good enough to advance the Bolters to the finals at the SCG this year, for the first time since they narrowly lost the final in the inaugural year of the annual Twenty20 event in 2015.
The Bolters finished the two-day Sixers Conference, Port Macquarie pool, with two wins and a loss.
They recorded back-to-back wins on Sunday – the first victory coming in the morning match against the Northern Rivers Rock. The Bolters made 9-153 and then dismissed the Rock for 133 in the 19th over.
The loss came on day one on Saturday against the Coffs Coast Chargers, with the Bolters going down by 15 runs chasing 7-151.
In their final match, Northern Inland passed the Stingers’ total early in the 18th over, with Lachlan Cameron top-scoring with a 24-ball 64.
Ben Middlebrook was next best with a 27-ball 50 not out, followed by Simon Norvill’s 13-ball 37 and Brendon Reynolds’ 22.
The Bolters came second. The unbeaten Charges beat the Rock in the final game to book a finals berth.
Player unavailability meant the Bolters took a very young side to Port Macquarie, with five under-18 players in the squad.
Middlebrook said: “We had a lot of inexperienced players at Twenty20 level, at that level, and I felt they more than held their own throughout the two days … I thought by the end of it we were playing reasonably good cricket.”