The Ballarat Cricket Association's quest for its first Melbourne Country Week crown in over a decade has come to an end at the hands of Bendigo.
BCA's score of 8-219 wasn't enough to overcome its arch-rivals, which finished 6-223 in the Melbourne Country Week provincial final at Albert Ground on Friday.
Early losses plagued Ballarat, which found itself at 2-5 early in its innings.
A 40-run partnership from Leigh Lorenzen (36) and Nathan Yates (17) settled the nerves, while Sam Burgess, 32 off 28, offered a boost at the tail-end against an honest Bendigo attack.
Jarrod Burns' knock of 75 formed the backbone of Ballarat's run total, which ultimately proved too little.
"We thought we needed 290 to win, so we thought we were about 70 short," Ballarat coach Darren Fletcher said.
They were right.
Sam Johnston set the tone early for Bendigo, bashing 27 off 10 balls before falling to Ash McCafferty. Jack Neylon followed suit with an efficient 96 which laid the platform to a Bendigo victory.
"They got off to an absolute flyer, so we were behind the eight-ball all the way," Fletcher said.
"We didn't have anyone set at the crease for very long and it made it hard to score.
"They put the ball in the right areas."
Harry Killoran made up for a disappointing innings with the bat to finish with figures of 2-20.
The result marked the end of the week for Ballarat, which began promisingly after an upset victory over reigning titleholder Geelong at the Eastern Oval.