The 2014/15 Sheffield Shield season commenced with a new points system a host of débutantes and outright home victories in all three games.
New points system
Cricket Australia launched a new points system on a two year trial with the biggest change being the scrapping of first innings points effectively replaced by batting and bowling bonus points in the first 100 overs.
- Outright win: 6 points
- Draw: 1 point
- First innings win: 0 points
- Batting bonus in first 100 overs: .01 for every run above 200
- Bowling bonus in first 100 overs: 0.5 points awarded at fall of fifth wicket, seventh wicket and ninth wicket
With Australia playing a Test against Pakistan and another XI Australians preparing to play in the three T20 internationals against South Africa (and for some reason unable to play Shield cricket before hand) the playing stocks of some Sheffield Shield teams were severely tested resulting in a number of débutantes and long forgotten bit part players returning to first class action.
New South Wales
Nick Larken – made his first class debut as an opener but had represented Ireland in two list A games against Sri Lanka A in July and then played for ACT against Ireland in World Cup warm up matches in October.
Patrick Jackson – 30 year old left arm orthodox spinner who played one List A game in 2007.
William Somervile – 30 year old off-spinner from New Zealand who played four first class games for Otaga from 2005-2008.
Injuries to Chris Lynn (shoulder) and Usman Khawaja (broken finger) lead to some batting slots opening up for Queensland.
Marnus Labuschagne – 20 year old South African débutante opened the innings and made 83 and 0.
Ben McDermott – 19 year old batting at number three is the second son of Craig McDermott and made a first ball duck in the first innings.
Nick Stevens – 20 year old playing in his fourth first class game.
Ryan Le Loux – 30 year old leg spinner who played 2 first class matches in 2004-05
Peter George – switched states from South Australia to Queensland and played his first first class game since Round 1 last year which was also SA v QLD in Adelaide.
Michael Klinger – made his debut for his 3rd state after stints at Victoria and South Australia
Dom Michael – the 27 year old former Queensland batsmen slotted in at number 5 for the Tigers.
Hamish Kingston – the 23 year old right arm pace bowler made his first class debut for Tasmania after playing 6 Matador Cup matches this season.
David King – the 24 year old got his opportunity to open the batting for Victoria following a mountain of runs for Ringwood in premier cricket and a century for the Victorian 2nd XI in October.
Chris Tremain – the former NSW fast bowler made the move to Victoria in the off-season
Victoria and New South Wales met at the MCG with Matthew Wade winning the toss and choosing to bowl. The move looked to have back fired until Scott Boland ripped through the lower order taking 4/15 with the second new ball. New South Wales were looking at a low total at 9/277 but keeper Peter Neville and number 11 Josh Hazlewood combined for an 89 run stand to give NSW a competitive first innings total of 366. In reply Victoria managed 5/507 declared thanks to 129 to David Hussey and centuries to Peter Handscomb and Dan Christian, who shared an unbeaten 206 run partnership off just 43 overs.
Victoria bowled New South Wales out for 271 in their second innings with Tremain taking 3/63 and ending Ben Rhorer’s day with a nasty bouncer that hit him behind the ear. Fawad Ahmed also took 3 wickets leaving Victoria a victory target of 131.Victoria were able to knock off the required runs in just 22 overs thanks to a quick-fire 84 off 63 balls by Marcus Stoinis.
Points: Victoria 8.85, New South Wales 1.26
South Australia hosted Queensland at the Adelaide Oval and Queensland’s first innings started disastrously with Chadd Sayers taking a hatrick to reduce the Bulls to 3/27. Queensland recovered brilliantly thanks to a huge partnership and twin centuries to Nick Stevens, 158 his maiden century in his 4th first class game, and keeper Chris Hartley, 142, who has been in fine form with the bat to begin the season. In all Queensland managed 8/443 declared and in reply South Australia declared at 4/366 thanks to a century from Cal Ferguson and 86 from Andrew McDonald playing in the unfamiliar role of opener.
In the second innings Queensland looked in a strong position at stumps on Day 3 at 2/128 with Joe Burns on 88 not out and Peter Forrest on 38 not out. That was to change dramatically on the morning of day 4 with Queensland losing 8/24 to slump to be all out for 152 with Burns left stranded on 98 not out. Queensland’s second innings featured 5 ducks while the destroyers for South Australia were leg spinner Adam Zampa with 4 wickets and Chadd Sayers with 6. Sayers’ wickets included an amazing leg side stumping from keeper Tim Ludeman standing up to the stumps. South Australia knocked off the 228 runs for outright victory thanks to half centuries to Cosgrove, Ferguson and Cooper.
Queensland spinner Ryan Le Loux did not have a happy return to first class cricket after nearly a decade in the wilderness. He returned match figures of 1/141 off 22 overs.
Points: South Australia 7.12, Queensland 1.24
Western Australia hosted Tasmania at the WACA ground and bowled the Tigers out for 215, with no batsmen making more than 37, thanks to five wicket to Nathan Rimmington. In reply Western Australia were ably led by 22 year old opener Cam Bancroft who made his maiden century with contributions from veteran skipper Adam Voges iwth 79 and some late order hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile with 64 off 48 balls including 12 fours to post a total of 353. Fast bowlers Andrew Fekete (5/80) and Sam Rainbird (4/83) proved difficult to handle through out the match particularly with the new ball. In their second innings Ed Cowan held the Tasmanian batting order together with an even 100 but when he departed the team subsided to be all out for 242. Despite stumbling to 3/11 Western Australia knocked off the 105 runs for victory thanks to an unbeaten half century to Michael Klinger in his first game for his new state.
Points: Western Australia 8.67, Tasmania 1.15
A full round of Futures League matches was played prior to the first round of the Sheffield Shield with Shaun Marsh playing 8 days of cricket in a row. For the Futures League team he scored 157 against Victoria and followed up with a duck against Tasmania in his only visit to the crease batting at number 5.
Ben McDermott had a similar experience making 161 in the Futures League before making a first ball duck on Shield debut as the middle man in the hatrick of Chadd Sayers.
Micahel Phillipson, the 28 year old brother of better known Craig, made a century in each innings for Queensland Futures League batting at number 5 and didn’t get a Shield game.
For Tasmania, their Futures League team was captained by experienced allrounder Luke Butterworth on the comeback from injury and Ben Dunk took the gloves for the team – no doubt keen to get some time behind the stumps ahead of his role as wicket keeper in the Australian T20 team.
For South Australia, Harry Nielsen took the gloves, he is the son of former SA keeper and national coach Tim Neilsen.
In recent seasons the Futures League has moved from 3 day games to 4 day games and relaxed age restrictions that made it a almost entirely U23 competition. However the Futures League season consisting of just 4 games per team it is time the competition expanded so that each of the 7 teams – the 6 states plus the ACT – play each other once during the season, a total of 6 games per season. The desire for additional games is clear as Victoria and NSW already play additional 2nd XI games against one another each season.
In addition to increase the number of games played to 6 there should also be a final timed to be played the week prior to the last Shield round of the season. It could be played at Manuka Oval if their are ground availability issues in each state and just like Shield final performances are rated more highly it would be great to see a first class career launched through a strong performance in the Futures League final.
1. Cameron Bancroft (Western Australia)
The 22 year old scored his maiden first class century in his 12th game.
2. Ed Cowan (Tasmania)
Made an even 100 in Tasmania’s second innings. Joe Burns was unlucky to miss out with 98* in Queensland’s second innings.
3. Callum Ferguson (South Australia)
100 not out for Ferguson who has stepped up to bat number 3 for South Australia this season.
4. Dave Hussey (Victoria)
Hussey proved that age is just a number by peeling off a century for Victoria at age 37.
5. Nick Stevens (Queensland)
The 4th gamer rescued Queensland with 158 for his maiden first class century
6. Chris Hartley (Queensland)
Hartley takes the gloves in this team and continued his fine form from the Matador Cup with 142 not out.
Peter Handscomb is unlucky to miss out after his fine century at number 6 for Victoria.
7. Dan Chirstian (Victoria)
Christian made 107 off 139 balls including 7 fours and 6 sixes. Interestingly he bowled 8 wicket less overs in the first innings and did not bowl in the second innings, but there were no all round performances of note to take the number 7 position.
8. Adam Zampa (South Australia)
The best performed spinner in the first round of the shield leg spinner Zampa returned 3/103 and 4/45
9. Nathan Rimmington (Western Australia)
The underrated Western Australian pace bowler set the tone for WA’s victory with 5 wickets against Tasmania on Day 1
Andrew Fekete of Tasmania was unlucky to miss out after taking a five wicket haul in the same match
10. Scott Boland (Victoria)
Boland was Victoria’s best bowler in the first innings against NSW taking 6/49 including 4/15 with the second new ball.
11. Chadd Sayers (South Australia)
Sayers ripped through the Queensland top order on the first morning taking a hatrick and then took South Australia to an outright victory by shredding the Queensland batting line up on the morning of Day 4. In all he took 3/48 and 6/34 for match figures of 9/82 off 47 overs.
The round ahead
Three day night matches using a pink ball, play starts at 2:00pm on Saturday
Tasmania v Victoria at Bellerieve
South Australia v New South Wales at Adelaide Oval
Western Australia v Queensland at WACA