A GALLANT final-wicket stand between Paul Morgan and Ross Funcke could not save Rup-Minyip from a heartbreaking 11-run defeat to Noradjuha-Toolondo at the weekend.
When the pair got together at 9-99, still needing 63 runs for victory, all hope looked lost.
But top-scorer Morgan, 43, and Funcke, 10 not out, got agonisingly close to getting their side out of jail at Horsham City Oval.
Ben Anson's whirlwind four-wicket haul on day one was backed up by David Combe, 3-44, and young gun Jordan Huff, 2-48. The Blue Panthers' premiership defence hopes look in serious jeopardy with three rounds remaining.
Horsham Saints made it six wins on the trot after disposing Laharum by 71 runs at Dudley Cornell Park.
Laharum's Matt Farr made a resilient half-century but his side never looked like chasing the 262 runs required.
Off-spinner Luke Brunckhorst snagged three wickets, with pace trio Thilan Kariyawasam, Mark Crafter and Glenn O'Beirne finishing with two each.
Jung Tigers kept their finals hopes on track with a gutsy 19-run victory against Blackheath-Dimboola at Dimboola Recreation Reserve.
Experienced campaigners Steve Kenny, 4-50, and David Puls, 4-24, thrived in the excellent bowling conditions to get their side within striking distance before the returning Marty Knight, 2-15, finished the job.
In the final game for round 11, top side Homers easily accounted for Colts at Sunnyside.
The visitors fell 275 runs short of their mammoth target of 391.
The Pigeons finished the match on 5-158 in their second innings, with Simon Hopper remaining unbeaten on 88.