Sheffield Shield 2015-16, final March 30, 2016

Victoria seal back-to-back Sheffield Shield titles


Victoria 399 (Handscomb 112, Dean 111, White 78, Worrall 6-96) and 3 for 196 (Stoinis 72, Handscomb 61*, Dean 54) beat South Australia 340 (Ross 72, Weatherald 66, Carey 50, Tremain 3-73, Holland 3-86) and 251 (Weatherald 96, Ross 71, Holland 5-76) by 7 wickets

Victoria secured the Sheffield Shield for the second successive year © Getty Images

A season of youthful batsmanship was fittingly sealed by Peter Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis as Victoria wasted little time rumbling to their second consecutive Sheffield Shield title and 30th overall.

Capitalising on a weakened South Australia attack to wrap up the final in little more than an hour on the last day of the final at Glenelg Oval, Stoinis and Handscomb played with freedom in sight of the competition finish line, completing a match in which youthful batting talent was writ large across the five days - Cameron White the only batsman over the age of 30 to make a significant score.

Centuries for Handscomb and Travis Dean, alongside strong contributions from Jake Weatherald, Alex Ross and Alex Carey, maintained a telling tale of 2015-16, namely the advance of a new generation to the front rank of Shield batsmen. Of the top 10 run-makers in the competition, only George Bailey was into his 30s, a marked contrast to numerous recent summers when the likes of Ricky Ponting, Chris Rogers, Adam Voges and Michael Klinger were dominant.

Generational change is working its way through Australian cricket, and the selectors now have plenty of new names arrayed before them. Victoria's captain Matthew Wade, in toasting his second consecutive title, was as pleased for the younger members of his team as he was for the coach David Saker, finally part of a shield-winning combination after missing out as a player for Victoria and Tasmania.

"The opportunity to win four Shields, and to captain a back-to-back Shield is as good as it gets really," Wade said. "I'm as proud as I've ever been as a captain and of the young players who have come in and taken first-class cricket by storm.

"Travis Dean, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, over the last three years they've come in and dominated in Shield cricket and then we've got Boland and Tremain who have stepped up terrifically well for us in the last 12 months. It's an honour to play in another Shield.

"I was lucky enough to play with and against Sakes as a young kid in Tassie so we already had a good relationship coming into this year. It's been a big driver for us to get Holland, Tremain and Dean their first Shield and David Saker, who's been around the game for 20 years, has never won a Shield so to get him a medal is a big honour."

Stoinis struck three consecutive sixes to go beyond his half-century, and while he was dismissed with only a handful of runs required, Handscomb laced a boundary behind point to seal the win and earn a warm embrace from his captain Matthew Wade.

The Redbacks were limited in their bowling options, having lost Chadd Sayers due to an ankle problem. They also were unable to call upon the swing bowling of a sore Daniel Worrall on the final morning, leaving Joe Mennie and Eliot Opie to be partnered by the part-time spin of the captain Travis Head. Victoria's win means South Australia have now gone 20 seasons without winning the title, and Head described a feeling of pride without satisfaction.

"Proud, not satisfied, we just spoke about that in the change rooms just then," Head said. "Last year we won one Matador game and we went nowhere in the Shield. This year to play the brand of cricket we did in the Matador, I think we played a beautiful game of cricket in the Matador Cup and I thought throughout the Shield season, in moments, one thought the best brand of cricket in the season.

"I think we got the most bonus points which showed that we played the right way. Moving forward if we get more consistent and play that way, I think we can be pretty scary. It's been a three-year progress with Jamie [Siddons, the coach], he's come in year one and we've played in two finals. If we look at in honestly and play more consistent that way, it's going to be scary because we've got ourselves in two finals and there are probably a few blokes in the change rooms who are really disappointed with their seasons.

"The young blokes that came in stepped up and that's what we looked for. I think in the past couple of years we probably haven't had the depth and there's been six batters rotate through the season and you know that your spot's pretty safe. At the moment we've got blokes in grade cricket who are making a lot of runs and they're coming in and they're performing. It's fantastic to see."

Victoria's win was marred by a ball tampering offence committed by the bowling coach Mick Lewis, and they were also helped earlier in the season when handed six points due to an unfit outfield at the SCG. Wade and his team will waste little time thinking about those episodes in their moment of victory.

"I know that it was all over the South Australian papers today but not really," he said. "We can't control that, we were on the ground, it's an unfortunate incident but when I look back over my career I'm not going to be thinking about Micky Lewis in the gutter. I'll be thinking about the Shield that we just won."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Benjamin on April 1, 2016, 6:26 GMT

    As a Redback fan a little shattered by the result but they were down on numbers and no spinner really hurt. Still they've played a great brand of cricket all summer and if they're going to lose I have no issues with them fighting it out and playing the style they've shown this year. They've gone from the rubberbacks to a young bunch of lads playing with ticker and passion.

    Well done to the Vic boy's, played a solid 5 days and real difference was the two centurions outstanding by Dean and Handscomb. I think the experience of the Vics won them the game in the end. So nice to see some decent cricket as apposed to the hit and giggle Big Bash, sure it has it's place but I'll take this any day.

    Well done all and good luck next year Red Backs.

  •   Glenn Keppel on March 31, 2016, 8:40 GMT

    Great comment thread from true cricket aficionados. Good win to Vics but redbacks can take some pride from a great season.

  • rob on March 30, 2016, 22:19 GMT

    Congrats to the Vics and commiserations to the redbacks. Maybe next year. .. Alex Ross keeps catching my eye. He's the sultan of the sweep and seems to handle the spinners as well as anyone in Oz. I can see him in the green and gold in the shorter formats.

  • xxxxx on March 30, 2016, 8:22 GMT

    Great match where experience and depth in spinners eventually won out. Congratulations to the Vics for the second in a row and congratulations to the Redbacks for an outstanding season and the great cricket. Considering where SA were 12 months ago they have been the surprise of this season's Shield and the way it's been achieved with such a raw group is almost gravity-defying. As Head rightly says it's all about consistency for this talented group of Redbacks and it's all about continuing to improve every day as individuals and a team and avoiding the trap of complacency for the Vics. Excellent experience for all players involved ..... and the fans and I am already looking forward to the next Shield.

  •   Jono Makim on March 30, 2016, 8:18 GMT

    Congrats to Victoria, they have played some good cricket at times through the season, pretty even competition this year with no real stand outs but it seems the most experienced from them has gotten up, no real surprise there I guess.

    Tough final for the Redbacks but they are definitely an improving side with lots of upside potential, the most heartening thing is the young batsmen coming through, if you let the mind wander back to the start of season and someone told you that SA would be in the final with very little contribution at all from Ferguson, Cooper or Cosgrove, you'd be wondering how on earth they got there. I guess they are getting it right at club level, good luck to them for next season.

  • Terry on March 30, 2016, 7:43 GMT

    As much as Australia want to have an allrounder at number 6 at the moment someone like Handscomb must be close to forcing M Marsh out. Good to hear that the Shield final is staying (for now) as its a good (near) Test for young players. Well done Victoria for the win and to SA for not producing the usual cynical road that many hosts do. They should be congratulated for that. Good to see the young players coming through after a period of stagnation.

  • Chris on March 30, 2016, 6:43 GMT

    Its hard to believe that Cam White wasn't selected in last year's final. Vic's win only possible after his unbelievable knock against NSW. Congrats to both sides for a worthy final, and for SA cricket to have the nerve to produce a good deck for bat and ball. Sounds like it was an amazing match. Now if only footy started in footy season and not cricket season then these guys might get a bit more deserved exposure.

  • Glenn on March 30, 2016, 5:51 GMT

    "We love you 'cos you're Victorians" - I can hear the time-honoured chant now. Well done Bushies, credit to SA for a great year. The young players from all states must continue the momentum next season to push for Australian caps - many have shown this year that they are a chance for higher things. A great year.

  • kieran on March 30, 2016, 4:06 GMT

    Pleasing to see some very good returns for Handscomb and Holland, and a well deserved victory for the Vics.

  • Rohan on March 30, 2016, 3:35 GMT

    Great win Vics, well done. Against the flow really, with SA playing so well to finish the season, and the Vics so ordinarily. All Australian cricket followers have been waiting for a season where the next gen of batsman begin to shine, and looks like this has been it. My hope is that they really study their techniques well, not get into bad habits from T20, and especially learn to play spin well, use their feet, and really nail the sweep shot. We simply have to be better in Asia, because the pitches will never likely be decent again, and the next great team needs to win there. For SA, bad luck, but I'd be excited if I were you. New batsmen, including a good opener, a gun attack with an exciting new bowler in Worrall and a very promising leggie in Zampa. And Dean and Handscomb for the Vics look very good. Now for WA and Qld in particular to start showing us some new young guns and Australian cricket will be looking at a new era of dominance!

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