New South Wales has ended its Sheffield Shield season without a victory for the first time in 84 years, with the powerhouse team extending its winless streak to 12 consecutive matches.
The Blues wrapped up their 2022/23 campaign with a draw against South Australia at Karen Rolton Oval, with the Redbacks surviving 86.4 overs in the fourth innings to clinch a stalemate in Adelaide.
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New South Wales finished its season with five defeats and five draws – the last time the state went an entire Sheffield Shield campaign without a victory was back in 1938/39 when the first-class competition only had four teams.
After parting ways with head coach Phil Jaques in November, New South Wales dropped captain Kurtis Patterson for their final match of the season, with veteran all-rounder Moises Henriques leading the side in his absence.
The Blues declared their second innings at 3-247 on Friday, setting South Australia a 386-run target for victory. NSW opener Ryan Hackney brought up his maiden first-class century in the morning session before falling victim to Redbacks spinner Ben Manenti for 102.
Chris Tremain snared an early breakthrough for New South Wales – South Australian opener Kelvin Smith chipped a regulation catch towards point in the opening over, departing for a fifth-ball duck.
Redbacks opener Henry Hunt edged a Ben Dwarshuis bouncer through to the wicketkeeper for 18 before Blues spinner Chris Green removed Nathan McSweeney (19 off 34 balls) in his first over of the day.
South Australian captain Jake Lehmann and No. 3 batter Daniel Drew combined for a 78-run stand for the fourth wicket to frustrate the tourists before NSW debutant Ryan Hadley broke the partnership, with Drew departing for 84 after edging towards first slip.
Lehmann and Liam Scott guided the hosts safely to tea, meaning New South Wales needed six wickets in the final session for a long-awaited victory.
The Blues’ frustration grew when Green dropped an absolute sitter on the boundary rope, gifting Scott an extra life on 34 — but agony quickly turned to ecstasy when NSW debutant Blake MacDonald claimed a stunning one-handed grab the following delivery, with Scott returning to the sheds for 40.
New South Wales put themselves one step closer to victory when Green trapped Lehmann on the pads, removing the rival skipper for 74, and Hadley toppled Manenti, caught at mid-wicket for 21.
But despite some nervy scenes in the final hour of play, the Blues couldn’t get the job done, falling three wickets short. To rub salt in the wounds, Green dropped yet another regulation chance at leg slip in the final over of the match, with Tremain dropping to his knees in frustration.
South Australia finished with 7-290 with wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen unbeaten on 19 (77).