Blues draw but Katich earns state record
New South Wales 9 for 298 dec and 3 for 153 (Hughes 58*) drew with Tasmania 398 and 9 for 283 dec (Bailey 79, Marsh 59, Cameron 4-56, Casson 4-82)
Simon Katich became the most prolific scorer in a first-class season for New South Wales but there was little else for the Blues to celebrate in Hobart, where their match against Tasmania petered out to a draw. They will now have to wait until the final Pura Cup round to press their claims to host the decider after Tasmania took first-innings points.
The Blues were set 384 from a minimum of 70 overs, however the loss of top-order wickets slowed their progress before rain and bad light forced a premature end to the day. At the close they were 3 for 153 with Phillip Hughes on 58 and Dominic Thornely on 30.
Katich signaled his intentions to go for the runs with 40 from 47 balls until Jason Krejza had him caught at short leg. However, it was enough to push Katich past Michael Bevan's New South Wales record of 1312 first-class runs set in 1993-94. Katich has 1328 and needs a further 137 to beat the Australia-wide record for most runs in a Pura Cup season, also set by Bevan in 2004-05 after he moved to Tasmania.
A fourth-day victory was always going to be tough for New South Wales, who declared 100 behind in their first innings. Daniel Marsh, the Tasmania captain, was not in a charitable mood and delayed his declaration until the Tigers had reached 9 for 283. Marsh made 59 and Mark Cameron and Beau Casson each picked up four wickets.
Phil Jaques made a quick 22 from 24 deliveries as the Blues started their hefty chase but he was bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus in the ninth over. When Peter Forrest followed two overs later, also bowled by Hilfenhaus, New South Wales realised they might have to wait until their last game, against South Australia starting in Sydney on Friday, to try and secure a home final against Victoria.