Reduced to chasing South Wagga's 8-274 in 60 overs proved a challenge too big for Kooringal Colts on Sunday.
With the Blues batting out their maximum overs, it significantly limited the Colts time in the middle at Robertson Oval.
With linchpin David Bolton, the competition's leading runscorer dismissed early, Colts fell 73 runs short.
After a rule change last season, a draw is enough for the higher ranked side to progress through finals.
Teams can also bat an extra 17 overs, taking the added overs and three for the change of innings off their opponents.
South Wagga took full advantage in the preliminary final.
The rule is Colts captain Keenan Hanigan would like to see changed.
"Obviously it is very hard but that is the advantage of finishing first or second," Hanigan said. "They are the best two teams of the year and deserve to have an advantage but in saying that I don't agree with it.
"I think it should be 80 overs each and still have a draw.
"I think that's fair but at the end of the day that is up to Wagga Cricket.
"Wagga Cricket makes the rules and we can't complain about it now."
Even South Wagga captain Jeremy Rowe admitted the ruling changed the way his side handled the match.
"Batting the way we did probably is not normally our go but we found ourselves in a position where we are the higher ranked side for the first time in a couple of years in a final," Rowe said.
"You do have to play to the rules that are in front of you are we clearly set ourselves to back for 97, which we did.
"We thought it was really important to be disciplined in the first 10 overs today, not try to get a wriggle on too early and Mitch Sykes and Alex Jones executed that perfectly.
"We were able to accelerate and while during certain stages of the chase Colts were certainly in it we thought we had got enough and it turned out to be that way."
Despite losing the preliminary final, Hanigan was still pleased with the season.
The Colts won their first finals match since the 2014-15 grand final and after struggling for numbers Hanigan was thrilled with where they have come from.
"We were struggling for numbers and didn't know where to go to," he said.
"In the end we just picked random people just to fill in and to make a prelim final is just a credit to the club."
He thought they just simply didn't get enough out of the Robertson Oval wicket to really keep themselves in the contest.
"The boys put in the effort but weren't good enough to get 10 wickets early enough," Hanigan said.
"To their credit they batted the 97 overs and deserved the win at the end of the day.
"That is the rule, we can't change it.
"We gave it a crack in the end and to get so close is disappointing but I'm also so proud of the boys."