Dubbo captain Mat Skinner refused to use the under strength nature of his squad as an excuse for defeat in Sunday's Western Zone Premier League grand final.
Dubbo suffered a 45-run loss to Bathurst in the decider, with a five-wicket haul from spinner Connor Slattery proving decisive.
Bathurst posted 199 batting first and Dubbo was right in the hunt at 1-73 and with Ben Wheeler again banging them but Slattery ripped through the middle and lower order on his way to taking 5/36.
Dubbo went into the match without Western Zone pair Mitch Bower and Marty Jeffrey while middle order batsmen Thomas Nelson was also unavailable.
Skinner couldn't bowl after returning from recent surgery but the skipper still felt his team was more than capable of claiming the title on Sunday.
"It's a bit disappointing some guys couldn't commit when they knew the dates from the start of the season but we had a good enough side that could and should have won," he said.
It marked the second successive season Dubbo had suffered a decider defeat to Bathurst after a four-wicket loss last summer.
In Sunday's match, the Dubbo side had its chances.
Bathurst, after winning the toss, was in real trouble at 8/155 but the tail wagged and 23 sundries also helped the hosts.
Imran Qureshi made 25 not out late on to get his side close to 200 while Jakke Gardiner took 3/41 for Dubbo and Steve Skinner and Lee Price each took two wickets each.
Wheeler, who has been dominant on the representative scene this season, then got his side off to a flying start and found support in Rugby teammate Jacob Hill.
The pair added 64 for the second wicket but after they were removed Bathurst struck at regular intervals.
Wheeler's 50 was the top score while the next best was the captain with 24.
"We gave away a few too many extras (with the ball) so there was that and then they put on 40 for the final two wickets so you take that away and we're chasing 150 or 160," Skinner said.
"It's just little errors that hopefully we learn from.
"But 'Wheels' got off to a good start and he's blitzed the Premier League all season and I was hoping he'd kick on.
"The last few years the winner of the Premier League has had someone make a 70 or 80 and that's been the difference but we couldn't go on with it."
The pitch at the Sportsground also produced some variable bounce late on and Slattery took full advantage on the way to a memorable final performance.
The win was Bathurst's second in succession and third in the past three seasons while they also shared one title with Dubbo after a grand final tie in 2017/18.
"It's really special," winning captain Adam Ryan said.
"Especially for the older boys in the team who used to get done year after year by Dubbo. To finally turn the tables and build into something special is fantastic.
"The deck had a lot of influence on today's play but also, being a grand final, pressure came into it as well.
"Both teams are great at building pressure and building discipline with the ball so it was a bit of a scrap to see who could withstand it longer."
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