Sam Hagger hit 51 but it wasn’t enough to lead Milton Keynes to victory over Division 1 champions North Crawley on Saturday.
Along with opener Nick Hillman (46), Hagger helped put the home side in pole position come the change of innings, with MK bowled out for 193.
North Crawley’s Richard Bryce took 3-36, while Ian Gillam chipped in with 3-40.
In reply, the visitors found themselves 49-3 but recovered well with middle order knocks from Sam Chapman (31) and Mungo Ryan (41).
But with Nimesh Chavda also taking 3-36, the match was finely poised.
However, the visitors came up agonisingly short on 190-9.