SEVEN runs – that is all that denied Bathurst cricketer Trent Copeland a spot in this year’s Sheffield Shield final.
A crucial member of the NSW Blues’ bowling attack, Copeland and his team-mates went into the final round of the competition sitting second on the ladder.
But with South Australia beating Tasmania and the Blues going down by six runs to Western Australia on Sunday afternoon, they slipped to fourth.
After claiming 2-96 off 28 overs in the first innings and 3-72 off 21 in the second, Copeland watched on from the stands as NSW tried to chase the 402 needed for victory.
The Blues appeared on track to get the total after Daniel Hughes’ 110 off 138 and Ed Cowan’s 80.
However, the visitors lost seven wickets in the final session to suffer an agonising six-run defeat with 10 balls remaining.
Copeland fell to Jason Behrendorff for a duck, edging a delivery in the 78th over to make it 7-329.
Blues were all out for 396 – NSW’s highest fourth innings score since 1931-32 when it made 3-430 as it chased 448 against the touring South Africans.
Part-timer Ashton Turner was the unlikely hero for Western Australia, taking 6-111, with the off-spinner having taken only five wickets in 17 previous first-class matches.
Copeland finished the season with 26 wickets at an average of 38.15, ranking him as the 12th most successful bowler in the competition.
His best figures for both an innings (6-54) and a match (8-119) came against the Tigers in November. His economy rate was 2.82.