Sheffield Shield Epic
March 22, 2016
Jamie Siddons lifted the coveted Sheffield Shield back in 1996 after one of the most epic finals that I can remember in my time following cricket. South Australia needed to draw to claim the title but when Adam Gilchrist batted out of his skin for the visitors making a splendid 189 not out, WA looked well placed to spoil the party.
Paul Nobes did his best to keep SA in the contest with a fighting century and he was well supported by James Brayshaw who made 87 before being run out. The home side were all out for 347, well short of WA's first innings and an elusive Sheffield Shield crown was looking out of reach.
WA would still need to bowl SA out again and in a quest for quick runs posted 8-169 with Tom Moody doing the bulk of the damage with 72. There were still plenty of overs left in the contest and South Australia could chace down the unlikely target of 343 or play it safe and settle for a draw.
The draw proved to be the option taken after half centuries to both Brayshaw and Blewett. If I recall correctly, Greg Blewett went for a drive after being dismissed to let off a bit of steam. Captain Jamie Siddons stoicly resisted playing shots for the most important 4 off 134 deliveries that he would have ever made.
When Siddons was dismissed however, it was left to Shane George and Peter McIntyre to stave off the WA bowling attack that were desperate for a breakthrough. Now Shane George is not the worst number 11 in the history of cricket and has 2 first class 50s to his name but with a career average of 9.42 in First Class cricket the signs were not promising. With him at the crease was Peter McIntyre who had made a 3rd ball duck in the first innings and had a less than flattering First Class career average of 8.06. However when something is meant to be, strange things can happen and on this occasion, Peter McIntyre made the most valuable 6 not out, he will ever make and more importantly lasted 45 balls without being dismissed.
Meanwhile, Shane George at the other end lasted 40 minutes at the crease to see South Australia to stumps finishing on 1 not out. A large crowd had spilled in after work and there was jubilation at the Adelaide Oval as the local heroes had achieved a memorable draw and South Australia were Sheffield Shield champions in 1995/96.
Can the Jamie Siddons coached team of 2015/16 achieve similar success this year at Glenelg when they host Victoria in the decider? 20 years is a long wait and I dare say that we are in for one cracking game when last years champions Victoria go head to head with a team desperate for some silverware.