Tassie earn their stripes with Shield fi­nal win

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

TAS­MA­NIA con­firmed their place at the top of Aus­tralian do­mes­tic cricket with a seven-wicket win over NSW in the Sh­effield Shield fi­nal in Ho­bart yes­ter­day.

Set 203 runs for vic­tory on the fi­nal day, the Tigers reached the tar­get just be­fore tea, mak­ing it six straight vic­to­ries to end the sea­son.

There were a few wob­bly mo­ments as the Tigers lost three wick­ets to an un­der­strength and over-worked Blues at­tack be­fore South Aus­tralian im­port Mark Cos­grove hit the win­ning runs with a boundary off Stephen O’Keefe.

The ti­tle is the Tigers’ sec­ond since join­ing the na­tional first­class competition in the 1977-78 sea­son.

Cap­tain Ge­orge Bai­ley, who was part of the break­through win in 2006-07, said he felt tremen­dous pride in his team­mates.

‘‘ Re­lieved, elated, ev­ery­thing at the mo­ment, very proud and hon­oured to be part of this group,’’ he said. ‘‘ I think be­lief got us over the line in the end,’’ he said. ‘‘ There were times over the past few years that, af­ter that first day, we might not have had the ca­pac­ity to come back from that.

‘‘ I think the con­sis­tency over the sea­son led to the build of be­lief that we can win from any­where.’’

The vis­i­tors made 5-316 on the first day and 440 for the first in­nings. Tas­ma­nia replied with 453.

Start­ing their sec­ond dig late on Sun­day af­ter an all-or-noth­ing dec­la­ra­tion from NSW, Tigers open- ers Ed Cowan and Nick Kruger were lucky to sur­vive when the vis­i­tors missed three catches.

The Blues held their chances yes­ter­day morn­ing to dis­miss Cowan ( 21) and Kruger ( 31) and Tas­ma­nia weren’t out of the woods at 2-71.

Af­ter lunch, Bai­ley ( 25) was run out to make it 3-131.

But Alex Doolan ( 65 not out) and Cos­grove put on a 72-run part­ner­ship to see the Tigers home.

Cowan, man of the match for his stoic first-in­nings knock of 133, said it didn’t get much bet­ter than beat­ing his old side in a Shield fi­nal.

‘‘ That’s the pin­na­cle of my ca­reer by a long, long, long way,’’ he said.

Blues skip­per Si­mon Katich said the dropped catches hurt his side.

‘‘ We rolled the dice last night and un­for­tu­nately we let our­selves down in the field, but it wasn’t through lack of try­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘ But in terms of the way we played our cricket, we’re very proud of our ef­forts. We were beaten by a very good team.’’

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