Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson says the 2012 campaign has left him with mixed feelings.
The Hove outfit reached the semi-finals in Twenty20 and 40-over competition and missed out on the Championship trophy.
He told BBC Sport: "Having got to the stage of being in contention you'd have liked to have got over the line in one of the competitions.
"It's a disappointment not to have got to a final. We have satisfaction with a bit of regret as well."
Sussex's bid to win the title for the first time since 2007 faltered following a rain-affected draw at Somerset last month, but Robinson is remaining positive for the future.
"At one point we had a chance of really challenging Warwickshire after a run of victories," he added.
"We had a run of games where we had quite a few things go our way and in the last couple of weeks, we've not.
"To be honest, we're not that top of the table team really.
"We're a team that's definitely going in the right direction and that is definitely growing.
"We've made a challenge this year but in the next couple of years we'll probably be looked at as in contention."
Sussex concluded their four-day campaign with a five-wicket defeat by Durham at Chester-le-Street.
"There's not a lot that separates a lot of the teams from top to bottom in this division," Robinson said.
"The game was a nearly game for us and when we needed those big decisions to go our way, they didn't.
"We bowled a lot with a wet ball which killed us and negated us.
"However we missed a few little windows of opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck and Durham ran away with it in the end."