New South Wales 7 for 97 (Hughes 45, Holland 5-27, Siddle 2-19) trail Victoria 106 (Conway 5-14, Copeland 3-50, O’Keefe 2-17) by nine runs
Harry Conway swung his way to five wickets as Victoria were ripped out for 106, and then found himself in stony occupation at the close of the first day’s play as the visitors responded with seven quick breakthroughs of their own in a breathless start to the top of the table Sheffield Shield match at Drummoyne Oval.
On a hot, sunny day in Sydney, Travis Dean was more than happy to bat first upon winning the toss against New South Wales, but the competition leaders were soon floundering against the Dukes ball in Conway’s hands, ably assisted by Trent Copeland and Steve O’Keefe.
In a single spell either side of lunch, Conway defeated Will Pucovski, Nic Maddinson, Matt Short, Seb Gotch and Cameron White, all dismissed by deliveries curving deviously through the air, as the Victorians fell dramatically from 2 for 57 to 7 for 75. Among the rest, the recalled James Pattinson fell in highly unusual fashion when he knocked a Copeland delivery onto the stumps as he tried to bat it away from them.
Having rolled Victoria for such a lowly total, the Blues appeared to be motoring towards a decided advantage at 0 for 67, before Jon Holland and Peter Siddle combined artfully to conjure a similarly shuddering collapse from the home side. Holland gained some useful turn in addition to his usual flight and dip, while Siddle gained the critical wickets of Moises Henriques and Kurtis Patterson, the former appearing to protest that he had edged the ball that had him adjudged lbw.
After Holland coaxed edges from Jason Sangha, Jack Edwards and Copeland, NSW captain Peter Nevill attempted to patch the innings up in the company of Conway, in a match where the winners will take a strong step towards hosting the Shield final at the end of the ten qualifying rounds.