Victoria v SA, Sheffield Shield final, Alice Springs, 5th day March 30, 2017

Victoria claim third straight Shield title


Victoria 487 (Harris 120, Dean 94, Pattinson 80, Gotch 52, Sayers 7-84) and 323 (Finch 83, Christian 58) drew with South Australia 287 (Weatherald 60, Carey 57, Holland 7-82) and 6 for 236 (Head 137*, Fawad 3-81)

Victoria celebrate their third successive Sheffield Shield title © Getty Images

Victoria have completed a hat-trick of Sheffield Shield titles for the first time in the state's history, wrapping up a third consecutive triumph by playing out a draw with South Australia in Alice Springs. The Bushrangers were in control for virtually the whole match and on the final day set the Redbacks an unrealistic 524 for victory; play was called off late in the afternoon with South Australia on 6 for 236.

It was the second straight year that South Australia had reached the final and hoped to break a two-decade Sheffield Shield drought, only to be thwarted by Victoria in the decider both times. Last year, South Australia had enjoyed the significant advantage of hosting and thus required only a draw to secure the title, but Victoria had managed to pull off a victory in the final at Glenelg.

Victoria's three-peat was all the more remarkable for having come under three different coaches: Greg Shipperd steered them to the 2014-15 title, David Saker had the reins in 2015-16, and Andrew McDonald was in charge this year. They also had to overcome the challenge of playing all three finals outside the state - in 2014-15 they had "hosted" Western Australia in the final at Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

It was just the third time in the past fifty years that a state had won a hat-trick of Shield titles: Queensland did so from 2000 to 2002 and Western Australia from 1987 to 1989. Prior to that, only New South Wales had ever managed as many as three consecutive titles: they had claimed a remarkable nine straight Shield titles from 1954 to 1962 and had also achieved six in succession from 1902 to 1907.

The fifth and final day began with Victoria on 6 for 254, already with a more than sufficient lead of 454, but needing only to draw to win the title the Bushrangers batted on until they were dismissed for 323. That meant a fanciful target of 524 for the Redbacks, who clearly could not win. But a Victorian victory seemed possible when James Pattinson struck twice in the first three overs.

However, South Australia captain Travis Head scored a defiant century to hold off the victory push, finishing unbeaten on 137 when he and Victoria's stand-in leader, Cameron White, agreed to call off play. Fawad Ahmed - one of only three men to play in all three of Victoria's hat-trick of final triumphs along with Rob Quiney and Daniel Christian - finished with 3 for 81.

Victoria spinner Jon Holland was named Player of the Match for his first-innings demolition of the Redbacks, in which he claimed 7 for 82. Holland also picked up one wicket in the second innings, which meant he joined Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, Stuart MacGill, Bill O'Reilly and Tony Lock as the only spinners to claim 50 wickets in a Shield season (not counting Colin Miller, who combined spin and pace).

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Stephen Scott on April 2, 2017, 7:06 GMT

    Vic's should have won outright, If not for the Captain White. His 17 & 4 & a draw, isn't inspiring.

  • GrahamClayton on April 2, 2017, 2:57 GMT

    I also don't agree with a team being able to draw the final to win the Sheffield Shield. I would like the final to be a timeless match played to a result, but this will never happen.

  • Chris_P on April 1, 2017, 22:05 GMT

    Although I'm also from NSW, well done to Victoria. No matter what competition in any field, the level of your depth always tells the true story. Good to see Head score a ton, but he needs to score lots of runs on a consistent basis and score more than his peers. That is not happening, Cartwright is scoring more than him, Patterson as well, as is MoHen. Stoinis had an ordinary season & needs to show some consistency to push his nose ahead of the pack. Maxwell has the #6 spot now & should keep it, the others HAVE to outperform him. Less said about S.Marsh, the better, should never, ever be selected for Australia again & his brother will need to score far more than the guys mentioned to be considered again.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on April 1, 2017, 9:26 GMT

    Victoria have the Shield. Winning the final would have been nice but am sure they don't think any gloss at all is missing. If Australia are 1-0 up in the Ashes next January going to Sydney I don't think anyone would be talking about GLOSS if they bat on to 524 ahead on the last day.

  • Ms.Cricket on April 1, 2017, 2:35 GMT

    It is a bit sad that Victoria did not go for an outright win. Takes a lot off gloss off their victory. There was no way South Australia could win after the huge first innings deficit and a target of 425 was always going to be impossible, why 524?

  • cricfan90190992 on April 1, 2017, 2:25 GMT

    Not a surprising result as Victoria has the premier club cricket competition in the world.

    Also Chadd Sayers should be in the test team. It is just not right he is not there. The selectors and CA are clearly playing favourites.

  • Dave1970 on March 31, 2017, 8:04 GMT

    Firstly congratulations to Victoria for winning three in a row.

    Secondly, I agree with some other sentiments why does a draw equal a win? Surely a win by either side is far better result.

    If the points system that was used during the season was used during the final, who would win based on those calculations?

    Would using a points system in the final promote attacking cricket?

    Perhaps the final should be shelved and reintroduce top of the ladder as the shield winner; although I personally would prefer a final between top two but with a result in mind.

    Maybe another thought could be that in the final sides can only face a maximum number of overs per innings: for argument sake 150 overs. If you still have wickets in hand at 150 overs, too bad - the side is forced to declare. And if chasing a score but don't reach it by the end of the game then too bad - you lose. Would that promote attacking cricket? Perhaps use that rule through the season as well?

    Just a thought.

  • RoJayao on March 31, 2017, 5:14 GMT

    Game fizzled out like the whole competition did. Glad the Vics have won the title and pleased Head made a good ton, but it's games like this, played out back of nowhere, ending in pointless draws, that make you wonder what's the point?! The shield has been devalued so much, this result doesn't even make the news anymore. Please CA, fix the shield, make it relevant again.

  • camcove on March 31, 2017, 4:19 GMT

    Well done Vics, and particularly Jon Holland. Overall he doesn't have SOK's numbers but looks a far more threatening bowler. This year, he sure has been the best left arm tweaker going round. A few mentions below of Cartwright. I hope that the selectors have had the courtesy of explaining to him what is going on. Selected for the final test in Oz, he has one innings and makes 30 odd, looking fairly good. Ostensibly picked as a batsman who bowls seam upright, he bowls a couple of overs only. Then the selectors go back to the former discard, M Marsh for India. He fails and breaks down. His replacement? An allrounder with undoubted potential but one who has had a dreadful Shield season (preceded by failure for Australia A during the winter). In the meantime, Cartwright continues to score runs. Will Gotch be in the Vic side if Harper is fit next season? They both look like good keepers. (I'm assuming Wade will be in Tassie).

  • cricfan86223812 on March 31, 2017, 3:15 GMT

    BROKEN_RECORD. I think part of the reason for this is that at State level players are picked on potential and youth promise(which invariably means they are selected from the State Academy/Pathway structure). Thus they miss out on an extended period playing grade cricket which invariably toughens them up(or breaks them) and prepares them properly for FC and International cricket. It is strange that there is more money than ever spent on State Academies etc, bat's are bigger, grounds are smaller, Test batting averages are rising and yet FC averages (with a few exceptions are quite a lot lower). Something is amiss.

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