IT LOOKED like the chance for Mel Bulow and Queensland's women's team to notch their maiden Women's National Cricket League title.
In particular, it was the chance to avenge the result of the 2006 final, Queensland's only one before this summer, where they needed three runs with three wickets against NSW in hand but lost.
This year Queensland made it through its semi-final, chasing down 209 against Victoria on Friday, with Bulow scoring 64, to progress to Sunday's final against NSW at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In the final, Queensland made a formidable 7-232 from their 45 overs and with NSW 4-135, it was shaping as a gripping finish to the season.
Then the rains came and, under the Duckworth Lewis system for deciding the outcome of rain-affected matches, NSW were crowned champions.
"Obviously I'm shattered," Ipswich product Bulow said.
"The game was really evenly poised.
"I thought we were in for a mighty good show.
"I was keeping good track of the Duckworth Lewis score, which they kept updating on the SCG scoreboard.
"Between about the 15th and 18th overs, we were ahead.
"Then in the 20th, we went off and they were ahead."
NSW had the sense, or good fortunate, to accelerate the scoring in the couple of overs before rain ended the match.
"The thing I struggle with is the great unknown," Bulow said. "Whether we might have been about to win the title for our first time."
The thing I struggle with is the great unknown. Whether we might have been about to win the title for our first time.
Bulow felt the disappointment as much as anyone, having been on a personal mission since being part of that losing final team in 2006 when she was one of the final three wickets to fall.
It has left her wondering which of the gods she must have offended.
"I looked back and wondered what I might have done," she said.
Before the semi-final, Bulow had spoken of her pleasant surprise this year's Queensland side had made itself title contenders.
Having come back to the team after a year off in 2010-11, Bulow thought it would take three years to win a title.
That leaves her one left but the 32-year-old admits to doubts about whether she can go through it all again.
"The retirement question is in the back of my mind," she said. "Had we won, there is no doubt that would have been it for me."
As it is, she will take some time before deciding if she will re-commit next summer.
"I knew if I made a decision in the dressing room (after the final), it would have been emotional," she said.
"I am leaning towards going around again but there are a lot of factors to consider."
I am leaning towards going around again but there are a lot of factors to consider.
Whether they are enough to stop Bulow trying to scratch that national title itch for another season remains to be seen.
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