The ACT Meteors were left ruing what might have been after falling nine runs shy of qualifying for the WNCL Twenty20 final.
Needing victory against the Western Fury in Sunday's final-round match at Freebody Oval to book their place in the decider, the Meteors paid the price for a slow start to their run chase, finishing on 8-126 in reply to the Fury's 3-134.
Asha Smith (37), captain Kris Britt (30) and Rene Farrell (23) all got starts, but couldn't play the decisive innings required to get the hosts over the line.
In contrast, New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates showed why she's one of the best batters in the world with an unbeaten 77 from just 61 balls to anchor the Fury's innings.
The Fury completed a clean sweep of its Twenty20 matches with the Meteors after winning Friday's game by eight wickets to book its place in the final with NSW.
For the Meteors, their focus turns to next season after missing the finals in both the Twenty20 and one-day competitions, with Britt believing the groundwork has been laid for long-term success.
''It's shattering not making the final, but hopefully this time next year we're talking about heading into two finals,'' Britt said
''With Andrew Dawson coming on board as coach, he always said it would be an 18- to 24-month job.''
The Meteors were on the back foot from the outset, with Fury openers Bates and Jenny Wallace (45) putting on a 113-run stand.
But after fighting back to contain the opposition to a manageable total, the Meteors fell behind as they struggled to get away economical fast bowler Nicky Shaw (0-9 from four overs).
''For the first six overs we were only going at three runs an over, and that made it pretty tough to put the pedal down in the middle of the overs,'' Britt said.
''When you have to go at 10 an over, it's either going to come off or a lot of wickets fall, and unfortunately it's the latter.''