Friday, 21 March 2014

A Pictorial History of the Sheffield Shield Final

A couple of weeks back I was looking through an old cricket magazine while on the hunt for a Ray Robinson article and came across this photo of Victoria's 1979-80 Sheffield Shield winning side, and with this season's Shield season coming to a conclusion, I had an idea that seemed totally reasonable at the time. 'Why don't I resurrect the old blog by doing a Shield final post?' I said to myself.

Well, it ended up consuming far more time than I care to acknowledge, but starting from the 1982-83 season (which was the first that the Sheffield Shield champion was decided using the final), I found photos of most of the winning sides. All of these images were scanned from magazines and books (in regards to the latter: mainly those Channel Nine yearbooks that I'd remembered being pretty dire but are in actual fact pretty great for the purposes of documenting the visual history of Australian domestic cricket; I now wish they still existed - thanks Kerry).

The same magazine that had the Vics photo also had this picture (also from 1979-80) of Ian Chappell wicket-keeping, which I tweeted at the time and which people seemed to love. So here it isagain; Chappelli appealing for the wicket of 1-Test wonder Jeff Moss.

But without further ado or rambling, here are the Sheffield Shield winners of the "Final" era. Well, the ones I could find, anyway. The spotlight is no longer directed at Shield cricket in the way it should be and visual reminders of these great and significant encounters in the history and development of cricket in Australia are pretty scarce online. So I'm trying to right that wrong. I've also added in shots from other games where I've found them because let's face it, who doesn't want to see a photo of Mick Taylor playing for Tasmania?

Are you still there?

1982-83 Sheffield Shield Winners - New South Wales

No, what you see below is not Kim Hughes winning a Shield, as you might tell from his facial expression. This is Kim Hughes, losing captain, handing the Shield over to Rick McCosker and his New South Wales teammates. In a low-scoring game with no centuries, opener McCosker made 71 and 44. Otherwise, it was a game noted for the spat between Rod Marsh and Mike Whitney after the young quick was a little over-exuberant in his wicket celebrations, as you'll see below.

Classic stuff. Young Whit, a surprise call-up from the obscurity of English league cricket during the 1981 Ashes series, raises the ire of his Australian teammate Bacchus.

Souvenir time at the end of the game.

Whit having a laugh with a very young-looking Mo Matthews. John Dyson is under the lid, looking appropriately apprehensive given the fact that his face is being protected by a piece of curved perspex. Thankfully Albion C&D improved their technology over the following years.

Captain McCosker takes a handy catch at first slip.

Other moments from the 1982-83 Sheffield Shield Season

AB tucks one around the corner past Stumper Rixon.

Stumpy Laird sweeps off the bowling of John Inverarity in front of David Hookes and Australia's WSC-era keeper Kevin Wright (who played 10 Tests).

A young Dean Jones tries to run-out an also-youthful Tim Zoehrer.

Graham Yallop made the lazy 1418 runs that Shield season, eclipsing a record Bill Ponsford had held since 1927-28

Despite that, Yallop wasn't immune from being cleansed by Michael Holding, who turned out for Tasmania that year. I really should do an entire post on Sheffield Shield imports.

A pre Mahatma Cote Greg Ritchie ducks out of the way of one of Holding's bouncers down at the old NTCA ground in Launceston.

Mike Haysmen takes evasive action from a bouncer delivered guessed it... Michael Holding.

Sam Parkinson on his way to a 7-wicket haul for South Australia. Is this the only image of Sam Parkinson online? Probably. I'll mark that down as a win for the day.

Stumper Rixon appears pretty confident in this shout against young Deano.

1983-84 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

Western Australia break straight back with a 4-wicket win against Queensland at the WACA after conceding a 68-run deficit in the 1st innings. The damage was done in Queensland's disastrous second-innings of 154. Thomo took a 5-fer, Geoff Marsh made the only ton and Harry Frei played. Just thought you should know that last point.

Pretty harsh banner action up at the WACA. Love it.

Losing Queensland skipper Jeff Thomson steps up to the microphone to rehearse some of his sportsman's night material.

Rod Marsh with a subtle wicket celebration. Tell your story walking, pal.

1984-85 Sheffield Shield Winners - New South Wales

Imran, young Steve Waugh, the Tooheys shirts; how could you not love this photo (other than the fact that New South Wales won)? New South Wales won this one by one wicket, the arsey bastards. AB must have thought he was never going to win a Shield at this point. Trevor Hohns made a ton batting at seven for the Queenslanders but couldn't jag a single wicket, Imran Khan took 9 wickets for the Blues, and Peter Clifford hung on for 83 not out in the fourth innings as New South Wales chased down 220. Urgh.

1984-85 Sheffield Shield Final highlights

Mocka Rackemann lets fly.

Tailender Dave Gilbert helped Clifford over the line with 8 not out to break Queensland hearts.

Mature-age Thomo in full flight.

Peter Clifford gets some congratulatory words from bottle blone Phil Marks.

Other moments from the 1984-85 Sheffield Shield Season

Glenn Trimble's twin-scoop looks the part but it looks like he's just been rock n rolled. Paul Hibbert is the man under the lid for the Vics, I'm pretty sure (feel free to leave comments below if I've mislabelled any of these, by the way. I won't be offended).

Imran and what must surely have been a very early advertisement for Hewlett Packard computers.

There is something exotic and fun about seeing certain international players in Sheffield Shield action (it has just dawned on me that I haven't included a photo of Aravinda de Silva playing for Victoria in this post which I'm actually shattered about). Someone told me Immy actually once wore his New South Wales cap in a Test. I must dig out a photo of that, too. Love his Fred Perry tennisshirt too. Suitably random attire for a game of professional cricket

What is this vision I see before me? Inver, the Shiek of Tweak!.

On a scale of Quinten de Kock to Joe Root, how heavily would Julien Wiener have been mocked if his career happened in the twitter age? It would have been intolerable.

Readers of a certain vintage will remember that Victorian keeper Michael Dimattina was talked up as a potential Test player before the emergence of Ian Healy. Here he's running out Dutchy Holland, whose dive probably leaves a little bit to be desired if I'm being brutally honest. You're not diving into a wading pool, Dutchy.

Yes, that is Patrick Patterson playing for Tasmania. Yes, that is Australian cricket writer and photographer Mark Ray appealing at slip and yes, I'm pretty sure that is Paul Hibbert batting. Admit it, you didn't think you'd see that today, did you?

The Patterson delivery stride.

Peter Clifford and his giant coke bottle glasses seem to be working quite well here.

"I don't want any more Peter Clifford" you're probably saying. Well, here's another one anyway.

A very grey Inver lets one fly and then watches on as Ray Bright probably tries to wallop him.

Tasmanian Roger Wooley: 2 Tests, 4 ODI's, 1 thumpin' moustache.

Again, a round of applause for the Tooheys t-shirts.

1985-86 Sheffield Shield Winners - New South Wales

New South Wales enjoyed this win so much they decided to don their McDonalds Cup uniforms. Sorry about the scan on this one; I hate it when a really good photo is spread over two pages. They had no foresight about blogging in 1986. New South Wales won this Shield merely be drawing the final against the luckless Queenslanders, for whom Kepler Wessels made 166, Glenn Trimble 112, and NSW were 8-258 chasing 276 when stumps were drawn. Mike Whitney took 6-65 off 34 overs in the first-innings. Nice one Whit.

1985-86 Sheffield Shield Final moments

Greg Dyer gets run out for a duck in the fourth innings of the final, when Queensland still had a hope.

Poor Kepler, he looks like he wants to crawl into a hole.

The old Sydney hill was being torn up and redeveloped as the final took place.

Steve Small looks pretty non-plussed about this Queensland appeal. As a side note; he must have been mates with someone from PBL because he features heavily in all of the Channel Nine yearbooks. Ludicrously so, even.

A young Steve Waugh gives a glimpse of things to come, slog-sweeping in front of Dav Whatmore and Michael Dimattina.

1986-87 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

Just for something different, Western Australia win where New South Wales fail to, claiming the title after a drawn final at the WACA against Victoria. Reesponding to Victoria's none-too-shabby 404, the Western Australians creamed the visitors for 654 in reply with opener Mike Veletta making 262. That was all she wrote. Boring, but also crushing and dispiriting for the vanquished.

Some highlights from the Sheffield Shield season - 1986-87

Mike Veletta loses his lid against the Vics - Part 1

Mike Veletta loses his lid against the Vics - Part 2 (I actually have part three where it hits the stumps, or maybe that was another one)

Veletta thinks of new ways to torture the Vics.

New South Wales batsman Mark O'Neill looks guilty as sin here. The caption says that the SA keeper is Wayne Phillips, but I think we all know that's a lie. Who is it though? He did keep in this game but must have gone off at some point and given the gloves to a teammate.

My Guardian colleague Vic Marks (well, colleague in the sense that they let me embarrass myself in the same cricket tab on the Guardian website, anyway) during his stint with the Shield-winning Western Australians.

1987-88 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

The Western Australians take it out again, stomping on the heart of Queensland with a 5-wicket win. Chris Matthews took an incredibly 8-wicket haul in Queensland's first dig and WA captain Graeme Wood made the only century of the game (141 - run out, of course).

Highlights from the 1987-88 Sheffield Shield Season

Again, I bet you didn't think you'd see a photo of Andrew Zesers being caught by Greg Dyer today, did you?

Mo looks as happy as ever to be amongst the wickets. Henry Lawson moves in from the deep to congratulate him.

Mick Taylor is probably a tad underrated in a historical sense. A Tasmanian, a Vic, a Rebel tourist (where he acquitted himself quite well) and a first class average that can't be scoffed at.

I think this is Peter Sleep. Again, if you're as big a loser as I am and disagree, hit me in the comments section.

Wayne Andrews looking a little uncomfortable to this short ball. Might have been a good idea to wear a face guard on your helmet, Wayne. There is something that will never come back into cricket: helmets with plastic "ear discs". Went the way of the dodo when Aravinda, Stuart Law and Matthew Elliott shuffled off the scene. 

1988-89 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before: Western Australia win with a draw, again. Tons for Moody (162 and 155), Geoff Marsh (105 no) and South Australia's Peter Sleep (142 no) were the high points in a run-feast at the WACA. In WA's monumental first innings of 535, a young Colin "Funky" Miller took 7-112 for SA but bowlers toiled hard without reward otherwise. Bloody Sandgropers...

Some brief highlights of the 1988-89 Sheffield Shield season

Tim Zoehrer whips the bails off in a flash against South Australia.

Tom Moody - twin centuries in the final.

1989-90 Sheffield Shield Winners - New South Wales

WA fail to win this one, which means that NSW take the honours. obviously. Unlike the Western Australians, they do it with a thumping 345-run win over (sorry if this is getting predictable) Queensland. Twin tons to Mark Taylor (127,100) did the job, as did an 8-wicket match haul from Mo Matthews. Mark Taylor really couldn't put a foot wrong at this point of his career. A purple patch if ever there was one. 

Some other moments from the 1989-90 Sheffield Shield season

Mocka Rackemann loses a couple of poles to the delight of the Blues.

Tubby salutes again.

I never realised that Geoff Foley played in this Shield Final until I looked at the scoreboard in this pic. He was the first sportsperson I ever interviewed and was a generous and thoughtful interview subject given the fact that I was asking him about being the last Australian first-class cricketer to be called for throwing. 

Greg Ritchie considering donning the turban in an attempt to distract Mark Taylor.

Fair old logos on Ian Healy's pads here. Clearly pre-ICC crackdown on this pressing issue that plagued cricket for years, driving away fans and bringing the credibility of the game into question.

Obligatory Steve Small pic from the Channel Nine yearbook.

1990-91 Sheffield Shield Winners - Victoria

Okay, so yes, Victoria finally broke the decade of monotony and prized the Sheffield Shield away from NSW and WA, but more than anything that I love about this photo (and it is one of my all-time favorite cricket photos) is the sour expression on Geoff Lawson's face as Simon O'Donnell lifts the shield. I think I want it tattooed across my entire back. Victoria's 8-wicket win in a low-scoring encounter came thanks to Jamie Siddons (124*) and Wayne Phillips (91*) with a 212-run 4th innings partnership, which carried the Vics to their target of 239.

Other moments from the 1990-91 Sheffield Shield Final

Siddons and Phillips walk off triumphant.

Winners are grinners. Yes that is James Sutherland kneeling on the far left.

Some other moments from the 1990-91 Sheffield Shield season

Where does Adrian Tucker sit in the cavalcade of Australia's discarded spinners? He was meant to be a star before Warnie came along. I have a wonderful picture of him sitting in front of a bank of 80s style computers somewhere. On a related note, I'd like to let you know that I don't live in my parents' basement, I swear.

Brad McNamara tries to ping Wayne Phillips. No dice, Buzzard.

Damien Fleming ducks under a Wayne Holdsworth bouncer.

Darren Berry cops another Cracker Holdsworth bouncer.

Boonie on Tasmanian duties. Here he's been castled by Geoff Lawson.

Yes, Graeme Hick played for Queensland in 1990-91.

Big Phil Alley. A giant of a man who had a lot of potential but he had a Bruce Reid-like propensity for injury, the poor bloke.

One for all of you hardcore Rod Tucker fans out there. Love the ear-guards on that helmet. #HelmetTalk

I swear I'm not lying, it's just wall-to-wall Steve Small in every single one of those Channel Nine books.

1991-92 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

There was a resumption of normal service in 1991-92, with Western Australia beating New South Wales by 44 runs at the WACA. Tons to Steve and Mark Waugh gave NSW a slim first innings lead but WA managed to bat them out of the game (just) with 149 to Justin Langer in the second dig. Big game specialist Whit chimed in with 7-75 in that WA second innings. 

Some other moments from the 1991-92 Sheffield Shield season

Boof during his short stay in Victoria. If only he'd stayed... Imagine it...

Geoff Lawson announces his retirement at the conclusion of the Shield final.

More of a Koala hug from Mo, isn't it?

When I started this blog it was my goal to post far more photos of Paul Nobes than has ended up being the case. This is one step towards redressing the balance.

A rare instance of Chuck Berry missing a chance. All good, it was only Steve Waugh that he let off the hook here.

1992-93 Sheffield Shield Winners - New South Wales

Another dodgy scan over a couple of pages (side note: if anyone would like to reward me for engaging in this scanning madness, a larger A3 style scanner would be the perfect gift for your humble correspondent. Anyway, NSW maintained the status quo here, beating Queensland by 8 wickets at the SCG. It had looked a lot rosier in the first dig when Stuart Law posted 142 of Queensland's 311 but their second innings collapse to a dismal 75 finished it off as a contest. Cracker Holdsworth claimed 7-41 in that 2nd innings massacre and thus booked himself a place in the '93 Ashes squad. His opening partner was a young lad named McGrath. He went alright as well, as it turned out.

Other moments from the 1992-93 Sheffield Shield season

Oh, it was the centenary of the Shield that year. They released an accompanying book called 'A Century of Summers' but I've quite brilliantly lost both of the two copies I had and thus couldn't scan anything from it. Muppet.

Jarrod Kimber is fond of inventively describing the different ways in which the VCA might have disposed of the body of suspected chucker Troy Corbett, but surely leg-spin prodigy Craig Howard suffered the same fate? Not even Warnie's guidance kept him safe from harm.

Yes, yes that is Danny Buckingham but before you go making Cosgrove-style gibes about his weight, go and check his first-class stats. He was better than you mis-remember. Slaughtered country attacks once he'd finished up in the first-class arena. He's still playing, probably.

Hang on, is there room for another in that shallow bush grave? David Freedman was talked up as a Test calibre spinner for a good three seasons or so but he fell off the map thereafter.

Why does Phil Emery look so forlorn to be accepting this magnificent trophy? Typical bloody New South Wales arrogance.

Not a good game for Dirk Wellham. Not going to head across to Cricinfo and check but I'm pretty sure this was his Shield swansong.

This photo is a good summary of Victorian cricket for most of the 90s.

Cracker having, well, a crack.

Sliding doors moment: Merv's knee shits itself on the '93 Ashes tour and Cracker probably gets a baggy green. Actually, they still probably gave him one. They frisbeed them around back then.

Sadly I couldn't find a photo of Jason Arnberger playing for the Vics so this one of a youthful, skinny Arnie will have to do. This is long before wags on the Gabba fence would scream out "More like Arseburger, am I right?" for an entire day. Again, like Buckingham, go check his stats. Could seriously play.

I feel like Joe Scuderi rocked the mullet well into the 90s. I guess it was a South Australian thing.

Slats looking vaguely uncomfortable being touched by Uncle Geoff.

That's more like it. The youthful years when we couldn't even imagine the kind of damage he'd do in the Nine commentary box.

Yeah, yeah. Congratulations.

I can't believe Rechs Real Bitter couldn't leverage their sponsorship deal with the Shield winning NSW side into huge "brand outcomes".

This was about the time that Ricky put down his banjo and picked up the blade, with stunning results. More stunning than his hairdresser managed with the bowl over the head, anyway.

On the topic of hair, how much peroxide was Warnie working his way through at this point?

Hard as it is to imagine, Ziggy Zoehrer actually loomed as a genuine leg spin option in the early 90s.

Again, I love Trevor Bayliss's hybrid faceguard on this helmet. #HelmetTalk

Standard Victorian farce.

Some of my best scanning work here in honour of Deano. No idea why I didn't crop that wonky page break out but there you go.

Vics looking rapt to have taken a wicket. Nice golf clap from Pistol by the looks.

Wayne Andrews cutting in a style later seen on repeat from Justin Langer.

Terry Alderman passing the Australian pace baton down to Jo Angel. Sort of. Not really.

1993-94 Sheffield Shield Winners - New South Wales

NO PHOTO FOUND (yes, somehow against all odds I couldn't find this. Probably because I don't have the 1994 Channel Nine annual. Another gift idea for you, dear readers)

That might be a good thing for Tassie fans because their team was shat on from a great height in this final, losing by an innings and 61 runs. Michale Bevan and Brad McNamara made tons for the Blues and Tassie fell in a heap in their second dig, bowled out for 126 as everyone's 2nd favourite bean pole lefty, Phil Alley, took a Michelle.

Other highlights from the 1993-94 Sheffield Shield Season

The last known photo of Craig Howard.

Chuck Berry in full voice.

Captain Deano directing traffic in front of a typically huge MCG crowd.

Gavin Robertson, a bowler I had a completely illogical fondness for.

A young, brooding Haydos fresh from his maiden Ashes voyage.

Michael di Venuto, everyone's favourite random Australian ODI opener of the late 90s. A gun player who churned out centuries at first-class level (about 67 or so from memory) and now the Australian batting coach. Very unlucky his career happened in an era when Australia was blessed with a glut of excellent batsmen.

Remember Queensland's Peter Anderson? I bet every single person who has made it this far probably does. 

Look at him! Look at the cute little boy. Roll over and I'll give you a tummy rub. Don't be fooled by the boyish expression; this man was already a cold-blooded batting killer.

Count 'em out.

True story: I won Simon Cook's "cricket coffin" in a raffle at the MCG and it's not even the 10th most embarrassing cricket-related item I own.

Now THAT is a tracksuit.

One of my favourite parts of Deano's 'state of the nation' article on Victorian cricket last week was his whinge that former Victorian greats are discarded and not called in to lend a hand with the current crop. Who is Cricket Victoria's CEO? Yep, it's Tony Dodemaide. Nice try Deano.

Trevor Barsby, a man who seemingly churned out runs for Queensland but then I googled his first-class average once during a drunken debate and wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be. Still probably stiff not to make a single Australian squad.

A little more for the Barsby fans.

Okay, I scanned this photo only an hour or so before putting this post together and decided it was too brilliant not to share. After doing so via twitter and having it retweeted by Cricinfo, the latter decided to post it on its Facebook page where it currently has 23,000 likes. That is roughly 22,990 more viewings than this blog post will get. I'm okay with that, I guess.

1994-95 Sheffield Shield Winners - Queensland

Okay, I guess there are no such thing as spoilers here so surprise surprise, Queensland won their first Shield in 1994-95 and Allan Border could finally die in peace. They did it in style too, thumping South Australia by an innings and 101 runs. There were hundreds for Love and Barsby and 5 wickets for Carl Rackemann. Amid all the wild celebrations, Australian selectors went a bit mental and sent big Mocka to the West Indies with the Aussies, another historic breakthrough win to occur that year. I guess the most important aspect of this final though was that Paul Nobes made a ton. I'll tell my grandkids about that.

You wouldn't be allowed to do this in the present day, would you? Probably for the best.

Everyone was stoked for Queensland until about 10 seconds into their celebrations. Then we all realised how great it was when they just kept dutifully losing.

Who were Queensland sponsored by back then? Trying hard to remember but I just can't place it.

Some highlights from Queensland's Sheffield Shield Celebration

Okay, so you've won your first Shield. How to properly celebrate such a monumental achievement? I suppose you just give the local Banditos chapter a call, right? Was this outside the Blue Oyster Bar or what?

Like I said, everyone was falling over themselves to high five the Bulls. This one is a nice reminder of those dying days of tobacco sponsorship, when players were still being plied with free durries.

This is actually quite touching. 

Nothing says "Champions" like a motorcade down the main street of Calloundra in the back of a ute. Yes, that's John Buchanan and Stuart Law and no, I'm not sure whether it is actually Calloundra.

Oh god I nearly stopped breathing when I first saw this one. Very butch.

Other moments from the 1994-95 Sheffield Shield season

Remember Tassie and Australia A keeper Mark Atkinson? Of course you do. He was rocking Bono's shades at this point, apparently.

See, AB wasn't always uptight or standing in the "teapot" position.

I have more photos of AB on my computer than I do of most members of my immediate family.

A young (definately) and innocent (maybe? I dunno...) Andrew Symonds

Andy Bichel, a lion-hearted performer if ever there was one.

Some early Brad Hodge, when he was 'promising Brad Hodge', not 'Unlucky Brad Hodge'.

Brad Williams limbers up his frail body as Warnie has a bit of

Did you used to mimic Mocka's bowling action in the backyard? I know I did.

This is why Victorian cricket couldn't compete in the mid 90s. They were the light beer to Queensland's full-strength.

I probably have more photos of Craig Howard than Craig Howard's mum does.

You didn't think I was going to neglect Dirk Tazelaar, did you? Give me some credit.

Barbsy again. Yep, it's Trevor Barsby.

I bloody loved Graeme Vimpani when I was a kid. Still do. Are you reading Graeme? I ain't gonna quit you Ennis!

Buck and AB discussing whether it was AB that moved the cheese off Buck's copy of The Art of War. Or something like that..

Mark Harrity had some wheels. And a decent goatee.

Deano made his 324 no in a yellow ball Shield game in 94-95, propelling him to Sheffield Shield player of the year and ensuring "Bring Back Deano" banners at MCG internationals for at least another 3 years.

Sean Young, Boonie and a Brent-like Punter just slaying the ladies with their laid-back style. I want to be IN this photo. 

Shane George was a bloody good cricketer actually. A worthy member of the glorious Australia A squad during the 94-95 World Series Cup.

Cracker shows off the yellow ball, which wasn't a big hit. Unless your name was Dean Jones, I suppose.

Moe yellow-ball fun.

Steve Waugh trying to kill Dene Hills and nearly succeeding. 

1995-96 Sheffield Shield Winners - South Australia

Okay, I'm going to make a deal with you: I'll come back and finish these summaries later. I am tired and cross-eyed at this point. Please don't hate me.

Highlights from the 1995-96 Sheffield Shield Final

Jamie Siddons loving it ALMOST as much as Denis Rogers is behind him. Way to keep a low profile, Den.

Peter McIntyre saved the game for the Spuds with a 45-ball innings of 6 at the end, hence the cartwheels when the match was done.

McIntyre goes a bit Michael Flatley.

'The McIntyre Method'

Jamie Siddons finally shakes Denis Rogers and gets his moment in the (fading) sun.

Other moments from the 1995-96 Sheffield Shield Season

Peter McIntyre lets rip with the kind of delivery that would book him a place on Australia's tour of India that followed.

Phil Emery going about his business with minimal fuss.

A young Adam Gilchrist flaying another bowling attack. This one was most likely taken during his run-a-ball 189 in the Shield Final. What a knock.

1996-97 Sheffield Shield Winners - Queensland

(Big thanks to Stephen Gray from Queensland Cricket for sending me the pic above and taking us one step closer to a full set)

Other moments from the 1996-97 Sheffield Shield season

Laurie Harper, a batsman that probably no-one outside of Victoria remembers.

Brad Williams, lightening fast bowler and wearer of billowy tracksuits.

Bushrangers boot camp! Looks like Graeme Vimpani is leading the charge. What a gun. Maybe I'll get a Vimpani tatoo as well.

"Shane's Battle: "I will never speak of the things happened inside that tunnel."

Damien Martyn rolls his wrist over one to reveal his use of Slazenger's short-lived line of "Bradman" branded bats, also used by Richie Richardson and the fourth-worst player at every suburban club.

Deano brings up 100 games and gets a congratulatory plaque from Ray Bright, whose games record he soon passed.

As well as being one of the last exponents of ear discs, Matthew Elliott was one of those rare openers who batted in a floppy. Yes, these are things I still think about 15 years later.

What do you get the Queensland batsman who has everything? When you're sending off Trevor Barsby, a pallet of XXXX will do.

1997-98 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

Other moments from the 1997-98 Sheffield Shield season

Boonie sweeping; a beautiful sight.

Looks like there is an off-spinner on. Junior has awoken from his slumber and tried to destroy the guy's confidence. 

1998-99 Sheffield Shield Winners - Western Australia

Other moments from the 1998-99 Sheffield Shield season

BJ on the attack wearing that terrible multi-panel lid that the Warriors wore in the late 90s. #HelmetTalk

Better than a New South Wales win, I guess.

Sorry Katto, it's just such a shit lid. #HelmetTalk

Not technically a Sheffield Shield shot but who doesn't want to see Herb glancing one past Warren Hegg during a 1998-99 Ashes tour match?

I'm going to keep this brief because it still rankles so badly to the point that I refuse to buy Pura Milk, but 1999-2000 saw the hostile take-over of the Sheffield Shield that we know and love by some corporate shills. These people had their heads so far up their own arses that they decided to not only rename the competition in their own honour, but replace the best goddamned trophy in the history of domestic cricket with a f*cking $65 wooden plynth and fake gold cup. Wankers. No matter that Australia was wiping out every country in their path at this point, these were dark days in the history of proud cricket country.

1999-2000 Pura Cup Winners - Queensland

Just filth. I mean, Queensland winning the first one was kind of a blessing in disguise because it's so damned ugly but just look at that mostrosity! Look at it!

Just filth.

Other moments from the 1999-2000 Pura Cup season

Brad Haddin appeals hard but then realises he's fighting for a fraudulent trophy created by cricketing philistines. 

Getting into "unlucky Brad Hodge" territory now.

Having finished with his mail run earlier in the day, Hoggy looks in good form with the bat.

Brad Williams revving up the Aussie selectors during his second coming in WA. I bloody loved Brad Williams. He taught me how to bowl (not that it ended up doing me or my back any good; maybe it was a kind of curse) and gave me a pair of his bowling boots. Legend.

BJ coming down from the heady days of his last major Aus tour to the Caribbean in '99

David Saker before entering the snake pit of English cricket. Just kidding guys, we love you.

Don't really want any reminders of this game but I'll let this one through.

Put your hands up if you're boycotting Pura Milk.

Geoff Foley waiting in the slips.

Geoff Foley hits out with the bat.

Greg Hayne's 9 games for NSW in 99-00 didn't yield much in the way of runs but now he has a picture to look at when he googles himself. Hi Greg!

I just don't think you can get enough Laurie Harper.

Wade Seccombe dives, Stuey Law looks on.

Dan Marsh does his thing for Tassie.

Big Jo, big big Jo.

Haydos the Horrible

The Vics looking for a hole to crawl into.

2000-01 Pura Cup Winners - Queensland

Other moments from the 2000-01 Pura Cup season

Andy Bichel shouts, Punter backs up.

A quite stunning shot of the Brett Lee release. Top marks, whoever took this.

Boof tucks into some Ian Harvey at the MCG.

Remember when Don Nash was being talked up for the 2001 Ashes? I still have the magazine articles to prove it. Is Don, is good.

Front on Don. The Don.

Side on Don. This one really highlights his unusual action, one that saw him taking bags of wickets that season.

Don wasn't the only bowler to send plenty of West Indians packing that summer, but he seemed to enjoy it all the same.

Joe Dawes was another guy who always seemed to be in the frame for tour selection for a good 2-3 years. An immense lump of an individual, big Joe.

A bit of bonding between Stuart Law and Andy Bichel.

Martin Love miscues one.

I always said I'd find a photo of Watto playing for Tassie and here it is. The younger-model Shane is praying for a one way ticket away from the apple isle and he got his wish, as it turned out.

Kat-man tonning up again. He did this in his sleep.

I just liked this shot of Punter. Anything with a manual scoreboard (or elements of a manual scoreboard, in this case) sucks me in. Looks to have hit them alright on this particular outing.

2001-02 Pura Cup Winners - Queensland

2002-03 Pura Cup Winners - New South Wales

A portrait of the captain as a young man.

It really is just the ugliest trophy in the world. Worse than the Warne-Murali trophy, and that is saying something.

2003-04 Pura Cup Winners - Victoria

Other moments from the 2003-04 Pura Cup Final

Jon Moss - reinvented himself in Victoria and won a (title of prize redacted). Good on him.

Martin Love - runs to no avail in the final.

Late-career Herb before he went across to play for the Spuds.

2004-05 Pura Cup Winners - New South Wales

(No idea how, but have no photo of this)

Other moments from the 2004-05 Pura Cup season


He may look like someone's pimply little brother, but this kid just became Victorian captain.

Jimmy Maher ducks expertly.

Just one last hit of Jon Moss for you.

2005-06 Pura Cup Winners - Queensland

2006-07 Pura Cup Winners - Tasmania

Damien Wright would have to be in my Top 20 "unluckiest to not play international cricket". Gun.

Tassie guys are so happy to win that they just disregard what an abomination their trophy is. Fair enough.

2007-08 Pura Cup winners - New South Wales

2008-09 Sheffield Shield winners - Victoria

Then the scarcely believable happened; Pura Milk got back on its broom and left, leaving us to once more thrill in the majesty of the Sheffield Shield. Big corporate shout-out to Weet-Bix for making this happen. Sure their logo is ridiculously large on the player shirts but I think we can all handle that in return for the rightful move back to the sacred Shield. Bravo.

2009-10 Sheffield Shield winners - Victoria

2010-11 Sheffield Shield winners - Tasmania

2011-12 Sheffield Shield winners - Queensland

2012-13 Sheffield Shield winners - Tasmania

As you can imagine, I'm pretty much done with looking at Sheffield Shield pictures at this point but this one of Jordan Silk is as good a way to finish as I can imagine, and not just because I love Jordan Silk in all his unfashionable glory. Last year he kind of came from nowhere late in the season and his patient century went a long way to securing the title for Tassie. That's the brilliant thing about the Shield Final. Heroes rise to the occasion and sometimes it's the least likely of all 22 players that does so. May this week's final be no different.