Photo Credit: South Australian Cricket Association
Western Australia have claimed the inaugural Rod Marsh Cup in a thrilling Marsh Sheffield Shield clash at the WACA, defeating South Australia by two wickets on the back of a determined knock from Jayden Goodwin.
Launched during a ceremony before play on day one, the Rod Marsh Cup will be awarded to the winner of each Shield fixture between South Australia and Western Australia, and the late champion of the game would have been delighted with the debut fixture in his name, a tough battle played in the right spirit, ending in a hard-fought triumph.
Pace dominated the three-day affair at the WACA, with seamers accounting for 33 of the 38 wickets taken across the contest, with standout performances from Brendan Doggett (4-61 in the second innings) and Joel Paris, who collected six for the match.
In the final session of day three, it was young left-hander Goodwin who stood firm, batting doggedly with the tail to finish undefeated on 47 as the winning runs were hit, the highest individual score WA had in the game.
Sent in by the home side on the opening morning, South Australia were bowled out for 192 before the day was out, finding it difficult to form fruitful partnerships on a green deck. Jake Carder and Nathan McSweeney built a patient partnership after early losses, with Carder facing 104 deliveries for his 31 and McSweeney 84 for just 15.
Steady wickets fell from there, with three apiece to WA quicks Paris and Hardie, before Nathan McAndrew got the tail wagging with an unbeaten 50 from 48 deliveries. Jordan Buckingham was an able companion in their tenth wicket stand of 44 despite scoring himself, lasting 17 deliveries while McAndrew cracked quick runs at the other end.
After successfully fighting through to stumps, WA’s opening duo of Cameron Bancroft and Sam Whiteman resumed on day two looking to wrestle control of the game. Buckingham and McAndrew, having switched their batting partnership for a bowling one, took care of a strong WA top four, eventually finishing with three wickets each as the home side were bowled out for 204 to have the game in the balance at the halfway stage.
The final session of day two brought difficulties for South Australia, faltering with the bat to be 5-45 early. Harry Nielsen and Nathan McSweeney came together at that crucial juncture, digging in to produce a vital 54-run partnership on the cusp of stumps.
Nielsen became just the second player in the match to notch a half-century when he raised the bat early on day three, but lost his wicket to Charlie Stobo just moments later. Manenti then bludgeoned 66 from 88 deliveries, including two sixes, supported strongly by McAndrew, to push South Australia’s total past 200.
When the final wicket fell, Western Australia required 201 runs for victory, and in the early stages of their second innings it looked as though they would tick those runs off without incident as Bancroft and Whiteman presented a solid front for the opening 15 overs.
Doggett was the difference in the contest at that stage however, ripping through the top order with line and length, dismissing both openers and Hilton Cartwright as well as striking Teague Wyllie on the arm, forcing him to retire hurt. In a dominate display of quick bowling, Doggett threatened with every ball to turn the tide of the game the Redbacks way, producing a vintage performance on his way to figures of 4-61.
Breaking through in the opening over of his opening spell, Manenti was also not to be denied when he got his opportunity with the ball, claiming back-to-back wickets to continue the South Australian charge.
Unfortunately for the visitors however, spinner Corey Rocchiccioli showed some class with the bat at the death, finishing with 25 from 42 as WA claimed a tight victory to strengthen their position in the Shield standings.
The Redbacks and WA now switch the white clothing for the white ball, readying to face each other in a Marsh One Day Cup clash at the WACA on Monday. First ball is scheduled for 3.05pm ACDT.