Tasmania – 6th
1 win, 6 losses, 3 draws – 19.64 points
It was another tough season for the Tigers, who won just the one match for the season, against Western Australia in November.
They were beaten quite heavily in a few matches, including the return fixture against the Warriors however, and overall the season will be seen as a huge disappointment.
George Bailey was immense with the bat, easily leading his state again with 839 runs (average 59.9, HS 200*). Simon Milenko had a great season with 517 runs and 25 wickets, but the fact that he was Tasmania’s second-top scorer is a worrying sign.
The young batsmen Beau Webster (average 27.4), Ben McDermott (average 30.4), Jake Doran (average 24) and Jordan Silk (average 23.9) simply didn’t score enough runs. Wesbter and McDermott got one century each.
Milenko, with his 25 wickets, was the most for Tasmania, but he was the only bowler who played every match.
Alex Perrin made a state debut and took 10 wickets at 23.7 from three matches, while Gabe Bell debuted in the final round and took seven wickets.
Sam Rainbird (20 wickets at 35.3), James Faulkner (10 wickets at 37), Cam Stevenson (22 wickets at 38.4), Hamish Kingston (six wickets at 70.5) and Andrew Fekete (one wicket at 131) struggled for consistency on the whole.
Queensland – 5th
4 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw – 41.53 points
The Bulls won’t feel like they finished second last, as they were a chance for the final right up until the final round. In February they were placed a close third and had a real sniff, but lost crucial matches to finalists Victoria and South Australia.
The bulk of the runs were scored by Test discard Joe Burns (724 runs at 40.2) and Marnus Labuschagne (626 runs at 36.8), but the season belonged to retiring ‘keeper Chris Hartley.
Hartley scored 535 runs and was dismissed only seven times in 15 innings, leaving him with a superb average of 76.4.
Queensland had a good spread of bowling contributors, but no-one who ran through sides on the odd occasion, which every champion team needs.
Peter George claimed 28 wickets, Luke Feldman 23 and all-rounder Jack Wildermuth 20. The spinners had a much tougher time, with Mitch Swepson getting 10 wickets at 43, and Jason Floros getting nine wickets at 55.4.
New South Wales – 4th
4 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws – 44.6 points
The Blues fell at the last hurdle but not by much, second to fourth was only separated by 2.64 points. Sitting in second heading into the final round, ultimately it was the one less victory that NSW had that hurt them, despite all the batting points they’d accrued.
Is Ed Cowan set for an Australian recall, a-la Chris Rogers? A staggering 959 runs at 73.8 included two double centuries, another ton and five fifties landed Cowan on top of the Shield run-scorers.
NSW was the only side to have more than two players score at least 600 runs, and it had four! Alongside Cowan, Moises Henriques (775), Kurits Patterson (668) and Peter Nevill (625) had fantastically productive seasons.
The bowling wasn’t as successful for the Blues, because behind main men Will Somerville (35 wickets at 23, in a breakout season), Trent Copeland (26 wickets at 38.2) and Doug Bollinger (18 wickets at 41.8), there was no-one to assist with the ball, or at least on a regular basis.
Pat Cummins played one match and took eight wickets, Charlie Stobo played one and took seven, Josh Hazlewood played one and took six.
Western Australia – 3rd
5 wins, 5 losses – 45.48 points
Finishing just an agonising 1.76 points behind South Australia, Western Australia’s season finished with a dramatic last hour win over NSW. With one round remaining, the Warriors sat in fifth, and nearly pulled off an incredible Houdini to make the final two.
However, it was far from a failed summer for WA, with three young players making a name for themselves out west.
Hilton Cartwright made a controversial Test debut in Sydney over New Years, but his subsequent Sheffield Shield performances were nothing short of outstanding. He finished the season batting at number three, compiling 861 runs at 53.8 and seven wickets at 64.3.
Ash Turner smacked two highly impressive Shield tons before Christmas and while his batting remainng steady (742 runs at 53), he took 6-110 in the final innings of the season to win his state the game with his off-spin.
Finally young quick Simon Mackin took 35 wickets from eight matches, at an average of 25.2. His best match figures of 12-159 came against South Australia, and he also took 11-101 against Queensland in December. He was the only player to take two ten-wicket hauls in the season.
Great to see Jason Behrendorff return so successfully too – with 9-37 against the table-topping Bushrangers and with 37 wickets from seven matches, at the princely average of 17.6.