Ever since I started taking an interest in cricket over 50 years ago, I’ve always wanted to go to a Sheffield Shield match and as luck/itinerary would have it, South Australia are playing NSW over the next four days here in Adelaide! Excited or what? I don’t know whether to explode into a ball of fire or wet myself! But at least one will counter the other!
So…I rock up to the Adelaide Oval, go through security and there’s nowhere to pay for a ticket- that’s because it’s free! Yes, English cricket followers…free, gratis, no charge, zilch, zero, nil, null, nothing not even a donation to charity!!!
The match has the same feel as a county Championship- large stadium, half blocked off, 400/500 in at the start and the same type of clientele – after all who else is available on a work day? Early pace and nip see NSW at 2/33 in no time but recover to 2/94 at lunch off 32 overs. Game seems to be played at a faster rate than the CC…there’s not the constant drinks, changes of gloves and general faffing about!
A bit of pace/lift from Riverbank End for Sayers (Chadd with two ‘d’ s) does the damage and he looks quick.
After lunch it’s clear that the pitch is easing…batting gets easier once you’ve got your head down! However Henriques, Gilkes (worst stance ever! Beats Chanderpaul) and Bertus are ripped out by Sayers and Agar (no…not that one) as 2/94 becomes 5/107 in no time! NSW rebuild and regroup to 5/171 at tea. Solway tops with 82no and Nevill 32no.
The old style Scoreboard tells you everything except the number of overs bowled! Crowd builds as it’s poets. There’s no PA but there is TV and commentary (somehow, somewhere) and big screen replays!
I suppose if you’d offered SA 5/170 at tea they’d be the happier side but to make full use of winning the toss, they need to be batting tonight!
The new ball is the key to the game at the moment.
NSW reach 5/215 an hour or so after tea with no real issues; that’s a partnership of 108 – doubled the score and Solway has scored just under half of his teams total. Neville reaches his half century but then the new ball is taken (2 overs late) but then two wickets fall for 12 runs – both to Sayers who now has 6/55 before he’s rested. If SA are to mount any form of challenge then he needs support! He can’t do it all by himself!
The fall of the 7th wicket brings Lyon (goat or Gary depending on how you feel) and whilst he has initial issues with the new ball he perseveres and times a beautiful off drive to the end of the Oval (notorious in length) for an all run 4.
The over rate – compared to the CC – is exceptional with four quicks and one spinner in the attack.
And all the time Solway is still there grafting a fine century and has faced the equivalent of 45 overs all by himself! One swallow doesn’t make a summer but he could be one to watch.
At the close NSW are 7/274 Solway 129 and Lyon 22…all 96 overs bowled with only 8 minutes overtime.
Overall honours even but I suspect NSW are the happier of the two sides but it’s been the Solway and Sayers show today but what does tomorrow bring?
And a nice touch…it seems you can sponsor/pay for one of the pickets in the fence…as Richie used to say ‘…and that’s clattered into the pickets’