BENDIGO has missed out on a berth in Friday's Melbourne Country Week Provincial Group grand final at the MCG.
Bendigo ended the Country Week carnival fourth after losing its round four match to Mornington Peninsula at Endeavour Hills on Thursday.
As has been the case so often in recent years, support staff were left busy crunching the numbers during Bendigo's run-chase as it tried to dislodge either Geelong or Mornington Peninsula from a grand final berth.
But Bendigo was outplayed by Mornington Peninsula, losing by 63 runs in a rain-shortened match to end its grand final hopes.
Friday's grand final will be played between Geelong and defending champions Mornington Peninsula.
For the second year in a row, Bendigo - which ended the carnival 2-2 - was forced to play catch-up after losing its day one game against Murray Valley when it was skittled for just 98.
"It's obviously disappointing to not get through to the final, but had we won on Monday it probably would have been a different story," Bendigo coach Max Taylor said.
"Two years in a row losing that first game has come back to hurt us, but we'll take some positives out of the week like Rhys Irwin, who was really good at his first Melbourne Country Week."
Thursday's play didn't start until 1pm following overnight rain.
After Bendigo won the toss and bowled, Mornington Peninsula fired with the bat in scoring 8-186 off its 34 overs.
Ben DeAraugo (3-33) continued his consistent carnival with another three wickets for Bendigo.
DeAraugo’s three-for gave him 10 wickets for the carnival, placing him among the leading bowlers.
In reply, Bendigo faced an uphill battle from the outset in its innings as it crashed to 3-8 early following the dismissals of Michael Hanson (2), Travis King (1) and Cameron Taylor (4).
The Bendigo innings lasted 30.4 overs before it was dismissed for 123.
Adrian Pappin (29), DeAraugo (27) and Sam Johnston (22) - who was elevated to No.3 - were the best of the batsmen.
BENDIGO v MORNINGTON PENINSULA
at Endeavour Hills
Bendigo won toss and bowled
Mornington Peninsula innings
S. Foster c and b A. Burns 4
J. Bridgeman lbw B. DeAraugo 15
R. Wilson c L. Jacobs b B. Hamblin 22
D. Irving c L. Jacobs b B. Hamblin 30
D. Warwick not out 50
S. Phillips c L. Jacobs b A. Monro 21
C. Brittain c C. Taylor b A. Monro 32
G. Wyatt b B. DeAraugo 1
W. Pelzer lbw B. DeAraugo 0
L. Popov not out 1
Eight wickets for 186
Fall: 4, 28, 61, 90, 131, 181, 183, 183.
Bowling: A. Burns 7-1-1-40, B. DeAraugo 7-2-3-33, B. Hamblin 7-0-2-32, S. Johnston 4-0-0-16, A. Monro 6-0-2-42, C. Taylor 3-0-0-14.
M. Hanson c D. Warwick b L. Popov 2
T. King c J. Bridgeman b L. Popov 1
S. Johnston c W. Pelzer b S. Phillips 22
C. Taylor run out (S. Phillips) 4
A. Pappin c R. Wilson b D. Irving 29
B. DeAraugo b D. Irving 27
A. Monro c A. Tweedle b G. Wyatt 16
A. West run out (S. Phillips) 10
L. Jacobs b C. Brittain 3
G. Davies not out 2
A. Burns stpd W. Pelzer b G. Wyatt 0
Fall: 3, 3, 8, 41, 81, 99, 114, 120, 122, 123.
Bowling: A. Jones 7-0-0-14, L. Popov 4-1-2-18, S. Phillips 5-1-1-24, A. Tweedle 3-0-0-18, D. Irving 7-0-2-26, C. Brittain 4-0-1-15, G. Wyatt 0.4-0-2-1.
Mornington Peninsula won by 63 runs.
Final ladder: Mornington Peninsula (65.04 pts), Geelong (52.49), Bairnsdale (51.19), Bendigo (39.73), Murray Valley (36.92), Sale-Maffra (25.80), South West (23.96), Leongatha (12.75).