Winning the Sheffield Shield again is a thrill of a lifetime. For me it is my third but looking around our victory circle as we sang our song on Sunday night, I was just as rapt for the first-timers like John Hastings, Aaron Finch, Bryce McGain and Darren Pattinson.
It made it all the more satisfying to win the way we did, with so many out and having been 6-70-odd on Day 1.
David Hookes was the one who instigated the philosophy ‘win from anywhere’ and we did and the entire playing group and staff deserves all the credit as it was a supreme team effort on and off the field.
You can’t win cricket matches or titles without taking 20 wickets regularly and all our bowlers – Darren Pattinson, Damien Wright, John Hastings, Andrew McDonald and Bryce McGain – did us proud again in the final. It was a great effort from everyone involved.
On the fifth morning I threw the ball to Bryce and said “that’s your end” (the southern end) and he bowled 25 or 26 overs straight and bowled as well as I have seen him bowl for a long time. He applied peak pressure in combination with the others and it was fitting that he got the last wicket to wrap it up.
In the first innings, too, the boys also bowled good lines. I was told later that there were 42 plays and misses from the Queensland boys on the Thursday. It’s an indication of how well they bowled. It also goes to show how important it is know your own conditions and it was one of the reasons why we were so rapt to host the final here in Melbourne.
It has been a long, tough season and injuries and international selections, coupled with several retirements have really challenged us. But the guys who have come in have done really well, especially ‘Patto’ and ‘Wrighty’ in the back end of the season. Their efforts to rise above injuries set the tone for us all.
A lot has been written about Matt Wade’s 96. It was a sensational effort; certainly his best ever for Victoria.
Shippy has had a lot to do with the recruiting from interstate of guys like Matty and Johnny Hastings, as well as Wrighty and Chris Rogers, so he deserves particular credit.
It’s a privilege for me to be playing with so many fine cricketers.
It was Victoria which gave me the opportunity to play at higher levels and I love playing for the Vics just as much as I love playing for Australia.
Never ever did I contemplate playing IPL ahead of the Vics – not until our campaign was over.
It means everything to me to have been involved in a third title with the guys. I hope there can be more.
Our challenge going forward is to improve again. We want to keep this group together and keep everyone on the park. With a few of the other boys like Shane Harwood and James Pattinson on the comeback trail, there is no reason why we can’t keep pushing forward. In the meantime, we are enjoying this one!