But Rivaldo Moonsamy struck 51 in 134 minutes and Jonathan Vandiar stone-walled for 265 minutes to assemble an unbeaten 101 as the hosts reached 198 for five at the close.
Alfred Mothoa captured 4-39 in the first innings to limit Free State to 285 for nine. The hosts slipped to 170 in their first innings, but was defiance personified on the final two days as their middle-order blunted the Free State attack, thanks to Moonsamy, Vandiar and the determined captain, Thomas Karber.
Northerns will reflect on a superb season in which they won the CSA One Day Challenge, finished at the summit of the log in the three-day competition and produced eight or nine players who made attractive strides.
Tony de Zorzi struck 396 runs at an average of 79.20, while Moonsamy ended with 546 runs at an average of 49.63. Grant Thomson assembled 503 runs (average of 45.72) and Qaasim Adams hammered 344 runs.
Migael Pretorius removed 42 batsmen, Eldred Hawken accounted for 38 batsmen and Thompson struck 20 times. Mothoa took 20 wickets in six matches at an average of 17.
“Alfred was massive for us the last four or five games, while we were slightly trailing Western Province.
“He is such a professional, a fantastic team man, and he deserves his credit a 1000 times over,” said Mark Charlton, the coach.
“He is a tall bowler with long arms, hits beautiful areas and we call him Snick-Snick Mothoa, because the batsmen nicks it to the slip cordon all the time.
“We had eight or nine players who contributed consistently and who stepped up to a new level. I am very happy at the way we bowled in the Free State’ second innings and how we reacted when we were down at five for four,” he said.
A few Multiply Titans players who only occasionally represented the Northerns team, like Shaun von Berg, Lungi Ngidi and Aiden Markram, also produced memorable performances for the semi-professional team, who continued their dominance of the past two seasons.