After a courageous chase the NSW Blues came within 7 runs of qualifying for the Sheffield Shield final, narrowly losing to Western Australia in Perth.

Facing a challenging 403 for victory and resuming on 1-6, the Blues were bowled out for 396 with 10 balls remaining late on Sunday.

The 396 scored by New South Wales is its highest fourth innings score since 1931-32 when it made  3-430 as it chased 448 against the touring South Africans.

Needing a win to hold on to second place, NSW appeared on course to run down an improbable victory target.

However, the Blues lost seven wickets in the final session pressing for the win.

Part-timer Ashton Turner was the unlikely hero for Western Australia, taking 6-111, with the off-spinner having taken only five wickets in 17 previous first-class matches.

Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was on course to be the hero for the Blues after watching the NSW tail fall around him.

When No.11 Harry Conway came to the wicket the Blues needed 24 off 5.3 overs, and with Nevill protecting his colleague from much of the bowling, that target became 17 off four, 12 off three overs, and then seven off the final two overs.

However, the recent Test 'keeper was caught reverse sweeping off the bowling of Turner for 63.

NSW began the final session at 3-256 and required 147 runs off 37 overs.

The Blues advanced to 3-292 before Kurtis Patterson was bowled by Turner for 39.

When big-hitting Blues skipper Moises Henriques went soon after caught at deep mid-off from the bowling of Turner for a run-a-ball 66, the momentum began to swing.

A 161-run partnership for the second wicket between NSW opener Daniel Hughes (110) and the in-form Ed Cowan (80) built a strong platform for the Blues to achieve the unlikely win.

Cowan had an excellent season, scoring 959 runs at 73.76 to be the leading run scorer in the Sheffield Shield. The veteran left-hander had a big post-Christmas Shield campaign against the Dukes ball.

Conversely Hughes struggled in the New Year until this match, when he made 69 in the first innings and 110 in the second.

Henriques had by far his best Shield season with the bat for NSW, scoring 775 runs at 64.58.

Nevill also excelled with 625 runs at 56.81.

Amongst the bowlers, stand-in spinner Will Somerville made a big impact with 35 wickets at 23.14 covering for Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe, while Trent Copeland claimed 26 wickets at 38.15.