The final round began with Western Australia New South Wales and Victoria vying for a spot in the Shield final and with home ground advantage up for grabs.
A real run fest to finish the season with a glut of centuries made across all 3 matches.
Victoria v Tasmania, Treagar Park, Alice Springs
On the eve of this match Ed Cowan quit Tasmanian cricket to return to Sydney for family reasons and decided to hold a press conference to announce this.
Call me a traditionalist, but really 6 seasons and 53 first class games for Tasmania does not warrant a media conference. Firstly Cowan should have seen out the season with Tasmania and played the last game of the season. His farwell to Tasmanian cricket should have been a wave to the crowd at the end of the game and a press statement the day after.
I have no issue with his reasons for leaving Tasmania but his handling of the situation made it all about him, which to me is not in line with the ethos of a team sport.
On the field, Victoria batted first and made 449 thanks to centuries to Peter Handscomb and Matthew Wade as well as half centuries to Chris Rogers and Marcus Stoinis. Tasmania’s best bowlers was the consistent fast bowler Andrew Fekete with 5/66.
In reply Tasmania were blown away for just 145 iwth only opener Dom Michael providing any resistance with 52 and number 11 Jackson Bird had a late heave-ho to make 26. Off spinner Jon Holland did the damage for the Vics taking 6 for 41 in 17 overs with 8 maidens.
Victoria didn’t enforced the follow on and instead raced to a lead of with Rogers, Stoinis and Hussey making hay while the Central Australian sun shined.
In it’s final innings of the summer Tasmania folded quicker than Superman on laundry day. All out for 134 in 54 overs, Victoria won by 400 runs. Ex-Victorian batsmen endured a nightmare debut for Tasmania collecting a pair.
Points: Victoria 8.89, Tasmania 0.5
Western Australia v New South Wales, WACA
This battle between two sides vying for potential hosting rights of the Shield final was severely interrupted by rain on the first two days and ended in a high scoring draw.
New South Wales batted first and made 409 due to 98 to Nic Maddinson and 145 to skipper Moises Henriques, just his 4th first class century. Best for the Wariors were Nathan Rimmington, a very consistent performer this season, and Nathan Coulter-Nile with 3 wickets each.
In reply Western Australia batted New South Wales into submission. Opener Cam Bancroft 211 made and Michael Klinger made 161 with the pair sharing a 324 run partnership. That man, Adam Voges chimed in with another half century making 83.
Voges’ 83 take him to 1215 runs for the season and places him as 8th best Shield season for runs. With one match to go he requires just 40 more runs to break into the top 4.
The Wariors batted for 206 overs, including 62 sent down by Nathan Lyon, and NSW gave just about everyone a bowl including 1 over from wicket keeper Peter Neville and oddly just 1 ball from Nic Maddinson before the game was called off. Western Australia finished on 3 for 483.
Despite outscoring NSW, WA gained less points from this game but did secure there spot in the Shield final.
Points: New South Wales 2.44, Western Australia 1.36
Queensland v South Australia, The Gabba, Brisbane
South Australia batted first and were dismissed for 230 with leg spinner Adam Zampa, batting at number 8, topscoring with 67. The next highest run scorer was Nick Benton with 33, a fast bowler making his début and batting at number 11.
Best for Queensland were the new ball pairing of evergreen skipper James Hopes (4/38) and ex-South Australian Peter George (3/47).
In reply Queensland managed 382 thanks to a maiden century to Chris Hemphrey batting at number 3 in his 5th Shield match. Nick Benton impressed dismissing the top 3 on his way to 4 wickets. It is rather disturbing when your best performing player is a débutante but such are the doldrums that SA cricket find themselves in.
South Australia sparked up a bit in their second dig with 103 off 97 balls to Mark Cosgrove and 107 to Cal Ferguson plus 50s to Cooper, Head and Lehmann. The Redbacks were well placed at 5/428 but then collapsed to be all out 458. Ben Cutting showed his stint in the Futures League did him good as he took 5 for 88 in the innings.
This left Queensland needing 299 runs in 60 odd overs. Enter Joe Burns,who opened the innings and made 135 not out to lead the Bulls home with 5 wickets in hand . He was ably supported by Peter Forrest with 81 and 2nd gamer Jack Wildermuth came in late and sealed the victory belting 3 sixes on his way to 32 off 17 balls. Queensland had won with overs to spare.
Points: Queensland 7.59, South Australia 0.8
|New South Wales||5||3||2||47.26|
Leading run scorer
Leading wicket taker
The Shield Final
The Junction Oval saga added another chapter this week. Despite Cricket Australia saying if Victoria hosted the final it would be at the Junction Oval Cricket Victoria countered by saying the venue wasn’t fit for First Class cricket.
With the MCG unavailable for the World Cup Victoria nominated Bellerive Oval as the venue for the Shield final and this was approved by Cricket Australia.
Western Australia considered challenging this decision given the playing conditions for the season stated that if the team that finished on top couldn’t host the final in their own state then it would be hosted by the team that finished second.
Bizarrely WA said they were OK with the decision of NSW to host last years final (also against WA) in Canberra because the ACT is encircled by NSW. Wierd! It’s still not in NSW!
WA decide to drop the legal challenge – massive surprise. If I were cynical I would say this was a Cricket Australia beat up to try to generate publicity for an event , the Shield final, that doesn’t get much air time.
Tasmania did not pass 400 once with the bat this season. They only passed 300 twice – both against South Australia.
Here are there scores for the season
215, 242, 253, 2/200, 247, 8/215, 217, 362, 8/298, 272, 213, 149, 121, 364, 219/5, 237, 183, 145, 134
That is 4286 runs for the loss of 173 wickets. In comparison Adam Voges has made 1215 runs.
Hemphrey, a right-hander who bowls off-spin, was born in Yorkshire and played 2nd XI county cricket for Kent, Essex and Derbyshire up until 2012.
He has been been playing grade cricket in Brisbane and became a permanent resident of Australia last year. This season he made his Queensland 2nd XI debut scoring 140 against NSW before stepping up to make his first class debut for Queensland in February. His first innings was a duck but things have improved since then with a half century in his second match and now a maiden hundred.
His story is an interesting one as it is often Aussies playing in the UK not vice versa.
1. Joe Burns (Queensland)
Lead the bulls to victory with 135 not out in the second innings.
2. Cameron Bancroft (Western Australia)
A maiden double century to the Warriors opener who has been quiet since the BBL until now.
3. Michael Klinger (Western Australia)
Maxy keeps churning out the runs, this time 161.
4. Moises Henriques (New South Wales)
Henriques made 145, his 4th first class century. This man has played Test cricket.
5. Peter Handscomb (Victoria)
Handscomb made his 4th century of this season.
6. Matthew Wade (Victoria)
Matthew Wade scored a hundred and patted a dingo in Alice Springs.
7. Ben Cutting (Queensland)
Cutting returned for Queensland and returned to form with 5 for 88.
8. James Hopes (Queensland)
4 wickets for the Queensland skipper in the Redbacks first innings.
9. Nick Benton (South Australia)
4 wickets on début in a batsmen’s round earned Benton a spot
10. Jon Holland (Victoria)
Holland ripped through the Tasmanian batting line up claiming 6/41 in the first innings.
11. Fawad Ahmed (Victoria)
It was the other Victorian spinners turn in the second innings taking 5 for 35.
The Shield Final
Saturday March 21 – Wednesday March 25
Victoria v Western Australia, Bellerive Oval, Hobart