A TOP six finish in its first season back in the FTGDCA Norm Reeves Shield should be a proud achievement for Knox Gardens.
But coach Jeremy Mackinnon said his club had set its sights even higher and wanted to be a finals team by the end of next season.
Gardens finished the season with a third-straight win in the final round on Saturday, beating Knoxfield by seven wickets.
Mackinnon said his side aimed to be a finals side this season but fell short in a couple of key matches.
He said his side's bowlers had generally performed well and its young batsmen had taken a lot from their first season in the top grade.
"The good thing was that we beat top-four side Johnson Park by six wickets and pushed a few other sides. When you think about that there is no reason why we couldn't have been in the finals this season but we dropped away at a couple of crucial moments."
Ladder leaders Upwey-Tecoma had little trouble disposing of The Basin's meagre 148, passing The Bears five wickets down courtesy of a half century to Dain Howe.
Footballers must have thought the season was over last week as they were bundled by Eildon Park out for just 85 chasing 4-251 with the Morris brothers back among the runs.
Big improvers, Upper Gully posted 172 at home to Johnson Park and was looking down the barrel with the Sharks sitting pretty at 1-101 in the 22nd over. Enter swing bowler Marc Hardy (3-21) and the Sharks crawled to 9-155 losing by 17 runs.
Ferntree Gully batsmen Mohammed Farrukh and Jayden Bradbury were on top early at Belgrave and dominated proceedings. Farrukh blasting his second century of the summer.
However, the same fortune did not follow 20 year old Bradbury who was dismissed for 92 in a total of 5-270. Former Rowville batsman Ryan Guest (76) combined with Doug Oaten and Leigh Newey to register a formidable 237 but the Gully got the chocolates while narrowly missing a finals berth.
■ While the FTGDCA continues to produce successful Premier Cricket players in Melbourne, on Saturday the greatest achievement was awarded prior to the start of the second Test in India, when former South Belgrave all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was presented with a 'baggy green' by Matthew Hayden, becoming the 433rd cricketer to play Test cricket for Australia.
An elated FTGDCA president Norm Reeves praised Maxwell's achievement.
"This is one of the greatest days in the history of our competition," he said. "Our first Test player since we were formed in 1947, you just have to feel so proud of him.
"I'm just so happy for his family and for the South Belgrave Cricket Club."
Maxwell made 13 in the first innings and then took four wickets with his off-spinners.
■ Upwey-Tecoma fell short against South Caulfield in the final of the Cricket Victoria Statewide Twenty20 competition at the MCG on Sunday.
South Caulfield won by 26 runs making 4-146 from their 20 overs while the Tigers could only manage 9-120 in reply with captain Sam Taylor top-scoring with 35 from 27 balls.
NORM REEVES SHIELD
Upwey-Tecoma v Johnson Park at Upwey; Eildon Park v Upper Ferntree Gully at Eildon Park.
Both matches on Saturday and Sunday with Monday a reserve day.