By the end of round nine of the 19/20 Sheffield Shield season Tasmania was playing very well and with such confidence that a place in the final was not out of the question. Consecutive home wins against Western Australia and New South Wales in rounds eight and nine had the team buzzing with energy and confidence.
It was an unfortunate circumstance when the 19/20 Marsh Sheffield Shield season was cancelled after round nine due to the Coronavirus. But Tasmanian cricket fans had seen enough late in the season to give them a real optimism leading in to the 20/21 season.
Through the nine rounds of the Shield the Tigers won three, lost four and drew two games.
The highlight of the first six rounds prior to the BBL break was a six wicket win over the defending champions Victoria at Blundstone. There was only one away loss in the first part of the competition, to a strong New South Wales team in Sydney. High scoring draws on the road in Perth and Adelaide and home defeats to Queensland and South Australia kept the points tally a little light at the BBL break.
Alex Doolan’s twin centuries in Adelaide and Jackson Bird’s continuing excellence with the new ball were some of the on-field highlights in the early part of the season. The presence of Matthew Wade and Tim Paine in the line-up inevitably added class, experience and match winning knowledge to the side.
After the Summer break the team was slow out of blocks at the Gabba and lost by ten wickets. They were then inspired by a brilliant counter attacking knock from Beau Webster (187 off 187 balls). This assisted the Tigers in registering a thrilling come from behind victory against WA at home. The match which was decided in the penultimate over on the final day will go down as one of the great Tasmanian shield wins.
By the final round (as it turned out) a new name had emerged to be reckoned with in the Sheffield Shield; Nathan Ellis took nine wickets in the game (to go with 9 on debut in the previous round against WA) to propel the Tigers in to title calculations with a nine wicket win over runaway leaders New South Wales.The cancellation of the season happened when the Tigers had finally found their momentum, they were playing as well and if not better than any other side in the competition.