NSW in final-session Sheffield Shield win


Fast bowler Trent Copeland ripped through Tasmania’s lower-order to help NSW collect a final-session win and push the Blues back into contention for next month’s Sheffield Shield decider.

Copeland took four wickets, including his 400th in first-class cricket, to help NSW to a 75-run victory at the SCG.

Tasmania were at 5-154 at tea, requiring a further 136 for victory off 31 overs.

But Copeland (4-46) ended a breezy Tom Andrews innings of 20 from as many balls to kick-start the beginning of the end.

The result creates a logjam at the top of the Shield standings with five states, apart from the winless South Australia, now boasting two wins apiece.

NSW’s win was achieved with up to 10 players missing and follows up a gritty victory by a similarly undermanned side in Brisbane last week.

In-form opener Daniel Hughes missed the match due to COVID-19 which also struck down coach Phil Jaques on the eve of the match.

“It is not to be understated the significance of this (achievement) for the young guys,” Copeland said.

NSW have matches remaining against Western Australia and South Australia in the abbreviated season.

“We will have a lot of guys away but, as we have seen in the past two matches, I think we can do it,” Copeland said.

“We have a lot of depth in fast bowlers, including a lot of young guys.”

Tasmania commenced the final day at 1-19 and methodically chipped away at the target, albeit with a modest run-rate.

The Tigers lost two wickets in each of the first two sessions with Mac Wright keeping the innings together with an impressive 78 not out – the highest score of his six-match first-class career.

“The wicket was a pretty traditional SCG wicket with some spin late and they came hard all game, and we lost some wickets at key times,” Tasmania captain Beau Webster said.

“It was a good battle of youth, especially between the batting line-ups.

“It is really exciting for us, we now have a good core group of players to rely on if we are missing some of our bigger players.

“I thought Mac Wright was outstanding, he showed how to bat on a tough wicket and was probably the batter of the game.”

Tasmania will face Victoria and Queensland in their last two matches with the final scheduled to commence on March 31.