The only bright note was that title rivals Kimberley were also beaten.
“It was a tough day. We didn't start that great and at one stage were 9-4,” said assistant captain Richard Bostock.
“To be fair, their opening bowlers had the ball swinging and found the edge four times in a row – there were no rash shots from anyone. They just bowled well up front.
“From that we put up a real fight, especially with Codi (Yusuf) and Tom (Keast) in the middle, and that took us to a total with which we thought we had a chance.
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“As it proved we were about five runs shy as they won with one ball left.
“It was one of those days for us. We had the slow start and there were a couple of decisions in the middle that could have gone either way – a couple of close run-outs.
“If they'd gone our way it would have been a different story. They set the result really.”
Radcliffe are themselves now third and he added: “Radcliffe won again on Sunday so they are obviously in form and we knew they would be tough with the bowlers they have.
“That's how the league is this year. If you can put four or five results together you can fly up the table as everybody is beating everybody.”
After a dreadful start, Yusuf made 91 and Keast 55, David Lucas claiming 4-22 and Jacob Deavin-Baker 3-41as Cuckney reached 192-9.
Radcliffe were 18-2 but Jacob Taylor (49), Jack Towers 929) and Joe Richardson (29) saw them home at 193-9, Dan Hadlow with 3-40.
On Kimberley's defeat, Bostock said: “We try to do our own job and if we win our games it will look after itself. But if you do lose then you are looking for teams around you to drop points as well.
“It would have been ideal if we'd picked up points and Kimberley had lost points as well. But it did soften the blow a little that they lost.
This Saturday Cuckney host Plumtree and Bostock said: “Plumtree went on a bit of a run of form recently but, as always, we will look to bounce back straight away from defeat.”
Cuckney's NPL T20 hopes were ended by Kimberley on Friday, Cavaliers & Carrington beating Kimberley in Sunday's final.