CENTRAL Highlands has lost a nail-biting semi-final to the Inner South East Scorpions in the Victorian state under-18 cricket championships.
The defending champions won the toss and elected to bat first for a total of 9-146, and looked to be in a strong position to win the game until the Scorpions rallied late to post a total of 6-146 and win via percentage.
A victory would have meant a third-straight MCG grand final appearance for the Highlanders.
The match was reduced to the Twenty20 format and started at 9am due to the extreme heat conditions.
Central Highlands captain Pat McKenna again led by example, making 70 runs with the bat and taking 1-23.
INNER SOUTH EAST SCORPIONS 6-146 (J Bartlett 51, ND Blaich 29, H Ganley 2-30) tied CENTRAL HIGHLANDS 9-146 (P McKenna 70, A Wheatley 7-29) at Princess Park.