REPRESENTATIVE silverware has evaded Griffith cricket for yet another season after Leeton outclassed the Griffith under 18s in Sunday's Creet Cup final at Exies Oval.
Fuelled by Brent Lawrence's 46 and an unbeaten 32 from Jarryd Day, the visitors claimed a 48-run win to make it another summer without a trophy for the Griffith District Cricket Association.
After failures in the SCG Country Shield and the O'Farrell Cup, it was left to the promising Griffith juniors to end the drought and seize the Murrumbidgee's most prestigious cricketing crown.
And for long stretches of what has been a breakout season for many of them, they looked likely to do just that.
But while they fell short on Sunday, proud coach Ritchie Alvaro said the future remains bright for not only the players on the team, but Griffith cricket as a whole.
"They're not beating themselves up," he said.
"It's been a fantastic effort this season.
"I'm disappointed in the result but not the effort of the whole squad.
"We've had 16 or 17 players and they've all done their bit to get us here - I couldn't fault any of them.
"Leeton were the better team on the day, simple as that."
Alvaro said experience was the key difference between the two sides, and that difference was amplified when Leeton won the toss and elected to bat first.
Only three Leeton players could register double-figure scores, but the ones that did made them count.
Lawrence, Day and captain Adrian Axtill (19) were all on song against a full-strength Griffith under 18s attack, helping Leeton reach 130 all out at the end of their alloted 45 overs.
"To be honest, 130-odd... we would have taken that any day to chase," Alvaro said.
"Both teams bowled extremely well and it was hard to score runs because it was good line and length.
"But batting first, you always have an advantage straight away and if you capitalise and bat out your overs, you'll be in pretty good areas.
"It's not how quick you score, it's how long you can stay out there. I think our boys are getting the idea.
"We still batted out 35 overs so we're getting there, but we're just running out of wickets."
There were no standout Griffith bowlers, but openers Alex Flood and Tom West were economical as ever, while Jimmy Binks picked up three wickets.
But there was good bowling at the death from the home side, grabbing the last six Leeton wickets for just 38 runs.
The tone for Griffith's innings was set with the very first ball - Michael McWhirter was caught behind off the bowling of Axtill, who finished with three wickets.
"That sets you back a bit," Alvaro laughed.
The under 18s struggled to put together any meaningful partnerships and were eventually bowled out for 82.
Connor Matheson and Dan Peruzzi both scored 16 while Binks (11) was the only other Griffith player to notch a double-digit score.
"All cricketers have to learn that once you lose a wicket you've got to knuckle down and start again," Alvaro said.
"But the good thing is these boys will learn and hopefully will be doing that to the younger generations when they grow up."
That's the upside to having Griffith's under 18s in the Creet Cup, Alvaro said.
"There used to be the Murrumbidgee Shield around five years ago but when that folded, we didn't know what these kids were going to do when they turned 17," he said.
"In the five years, we've made the grand final three times, so it's working.
"You can see these fellas going on to play well with their club teams and the senior rep teams. It's a great way to give them experience.
"It'll be a whole new crew next year and we'll basically start from scratch again."