Sheffield Shield final 2008-09 March 18, 2009

Love steps down without final wish

Cricinfo staff


Bye, bye Martin Love © Getty Images
 

Martin Love would have swapped his farewell century for two ducks in the Sheffield Shield final if it meant Queensland won the trophy. Love bowed out of the sport with an unbeaten 104, which followed his 41 in the first innings, in the drawn match at the Junction Oval.

Love, who scored 16,952 first-class runs in 214 matches, was able to reach three figures before the game ended early and the unbeaten Victoria collected the prize. Despite his strong season of 842 runs, which included two hundreds after announcing his retirement, he said he was making the right decision.

"I would prefer to go out this way rather than to hang on for another year and my form to wane," he said in the Courier-Mail. "I wasn't sure how to react when I walked off. It was a bit sad knowing I would not be out there again.

"I'll miss that. I won't miss standing in the field for 150 overs in a row or the training. But I'll miss the batting and the competition."

Queensland were behind for most of the match, with Victoria scoring 510 in their first innings before the visitors fell for 200 in reply. Cameron White followed 135 with 61 as the Bushrangers piled on another 282 and set Queensland 593 to win in two sessions on the last day.

They reached 1 for 221 thanks to Love and Ryan Broad, who fell on 109. "From a personal point of view it was pleasing to finish with a century, but I would have preferred to get two ducks if we had won the game," Love said.

While Love wanted a different result, White was pleased to have led his team to the trophy after an unbeaten run in the Shield. "I'm just really happy for the team to win it for that exact reason - because I thought we deserved it," he said in the Age. "We've played so well for the best part of two or three years, if not longer."

White was criticised for his batting after Victoria's loss in the FR Cup final last month and responded with a Man-of-the-Match performance. "That was one of the reasons I personally wanted to do well in this game and to contribute the best I could to help the team win this Sheffield Shield," he said. "I feel a bit of relief to be honest.

"I can't speak too much for the others too much yet, but I'd imagine they're feeling a bit the same way. Obviously they're going to really enjoy it and it's emotion and elation, but I'm feeling a bit of a weight off our shoulders to be honest."