By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
SO CLOSE, but yet so far.
These were the feelings echoed by former Gladstone star Kasee Marxsen after her Queensland Fire team suffered a shattering two-run defeat to NSW in the Women's National Cricket League final.
What made the loss even more devastating was the fact that the Fire looked near certainties to win at 7-143 chasing the 147 target.
Speaking to The Observer a day after the loss yesterday, Marxsen rated it as the biggest disappointment of her career to date.
"To be so close and lose was very disappointing, it is hard to describe the feelings I have at the moment,'' Marxsen said.
She said there were a number of mixed emotions in the Fire dressing-room after the match, ranging from pride to emptiness.
"All the girls were proud of our effort to get so close and the way we dug deep, but to finish the match empty-handed was tough,'' she said. "(Captain) Melissa (Bulow) said she was proud of all the girls and the effort we put in over the three games.''
From a personal point of view, the highlight of Marxsen's series was not her fine 72 in the first match, but the Fire's stirring day two victory.
"To make runs (72) in the first game was nice, but we lost which unfortunately took the shine off it a little bit,'' she said.
"But the win on day two was great, because we had to win to force the series to a third game.''
As for next season, Marxsen believes the nature of the loss will be a driving factor over the off-season.
"I don't think anyone will have any trouble being motivated for next year,'' she laughed.
"We can start planning for next year with the knowledge, if we play our best cricket then we have what it takes to win the title.''
Marxsen now completes her club commitments as captain of Sandgate-Redcliffe in two more games before taking a well-earned break.
"It is good to get away from cricket for a while to relax and all the girls will be back bigger and better next season,'' she said.