Day 1

A fascinating Marsh Sheffield Shield match up between Western Australia and Tasmania began at the WACA Ground in excellent conditions on Sunday morning, with both sides looking to build upon draws in their opening respective fixtures.

The Tigers, led again by Beau Webster, won the toss and elected to bowl, on a wicket that appeared to have plenty in it for the new ball. Tasmania’s quicks had the better of Western Australian batters in the recent one day clash, and this proved to be the case again almost immediately, with an excellent early spell applying pressure.

Gabe Bell, brought in for the injured Sam Rainbird, made the early breakthrough, having opener Sam Whiteman caught at slip in the seventh over for five, shortly after having a very reasonable LBW appeal denied. Not content with his work, Bell struck again just two overs later, clean bowling Cameron Bancroft to leave Western Australia in shock at 2-19.

With Cameron Green and Shaun Marsh at the crease, Western Australia may have thought they had the firepower to recover from their early stutters, but neither managed to settle into a rhythm before Beau Webster had Green trapped LBW for seven, and Lawrence Neil-Smith bowled a peach to have Marsh caught behind by Jake Doran, departing for 16 and leaving Western Australia precarious at 4-61 at the first break.

After lunch, Tasmania wasted little time in striking again, with Neil-Smith and Doran combining again in identical fashion to remove the stubborn Hilton Cartwright who had battled to 30. Josh Phillipe and D’Arcy Short dug in, with the former making his half century, to see Western Australia safely through to tea with at 5-140.

It was Neil-Smith who grabbed the bull by the horns in the final session, ripping through both Phillipe (60) and Short (24) to break the Western Australian resistance, before Peter Siddle played his own cameo with two quickfire wickets of his own, including that of Jhye Richardson who made a plucky 34.

Neil-Smith took the final wicket of Matthew Kelly to complete his well deserved 5fa - the first time he’s ever completed the feat in a first class innings – ending West Australia’s innings at 238.

With just under 30 minutes to bat out, the Tigers suffered an unwanted blow when Tim Ward fell for nought off the bowling of Richardson, before Caleb Jewell and nightwatchman Neil-Smith safely saw the Tasmanian outfit to stumps at 1-8.

Day 2

The Tigers started the day with a spring in their step, after arguably coming out on top after day one.  Despite losing opener Tim Ward right before stumps, the Tigers had taken all 10 West Australian wickets on the opening day of play for a total of 238.

After losing Ward for a duck, the hero with the ball from day one for the Tigers – Lawrence Neil-Smith – went on his way to repeating his heroics with the bat.  Entering as the nightwatchman for the third time in three innings, (note: thus far the Tigers have only played three innings this Marsh Sheffield Shield season), Neil-Smith went about crafting an innings worthy of a player regularly found much higher up the batting order, making it through to lunch unscathed.

After losing the wickets of Caleb Jewell (28) and Charlie Wakim (6) in the first session of the day, the Tigers were on track to get through the second session without loss, before the Neil-Smith fairytale came to an end, after he was bowled by Joel Paris for 60.  Ben McDermott was also crafting another fine image during the middle session, until his wicket also fell, agonisingly short of a half-century on 49.

After the tea break it was Jordan Silk and captain, Beau Webster, building a fruitful partnership, piling on 74 runs in just 15 overs, before Hilton Cartwright got the better of Silk, having him caught behind for 47.  With Silk being another Tiger unable to turn a promising start into a big score, Cartwright seized the opportunity, leading the way in cleaning up the Tasmanian tail, with just an additional five runs being scored in five overs for the loss of the Tigers’ final three wickets.

Webster finished not out for the Tigers, with his total of 53 runs coming off just 60 balls.

With the Tigers a nose ahead of Western Australia at the end of the first innings – 14 runs ahead to be exact – they had just over an hour to try and get the better of the West Australians with the new ball.  The hosts were looking for quick runs, until Peter Siddle got the breakthrough, dismissing dangerous opener Cameron Bancroft for 12.

At stumps, Westerns Australia are on 1-42, with a lead of 28 runs and nine wickets in hand.

Day 3

As predicted, the weather had a significant say in how proceedings went on day three of play, with no play beginning until 2.20pm local time due to wet weather.

Once the players did get out on the park, it was a slightly different looking bowling attack for the visitors, with 12th man, Riley Meredith, coming in to replace day one hero, Lawrence Neil-Smith as a concussion substitute – Neil-Smith was hit on the head whilst batting in the second session on day two of play, and did not pass concussion requirements that would see him fit to play the following day.

The West Australian batsman made sure to make up for lost time, with Sam Whiteman racing away to 49, before he was trapped LBW for 49 by Jarrod Freeman.

Following the tea break, veteran Peter Siddle continued with an extremely economical spell of bowling, adding to it the wicket of youngster, Cam Green, who was also dismissed LBW for 13.

At stumps, Western Australia are 3-130 in their second innings, 116 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand.

Play will begin at 9.30am AWST tomorrow, to make up for overs lost today.

Day 4

The Tasmanian Tigers have pulled off the first outright win of the 2021-22 Marsh Sheffield Shield season, defeating Western Australia by three wickers in a thrilling match at the WACA Ground in Perth.

Despite the rain spoiling much of the party yesterday, although the grey clouds were still hanging around for the final day of play, both teams – and the WACA groundskeepers – were determined to see out play – and a result – on day four of proceedings.

Coming in as a concussion substitute for Lawrence Neil-Smith yesterday, Riley Meredith made sure not to waste his opportunity today, snaring the first three wickets of the day; Hilton Cartwright (0), Josh Philippe (2) and Shaun Marsh (58).

After injuring his back in the warm-up on day two of play, Jhye Richardson made a spirited return to play for the hosts with the bat on day four, reaching his half century off just 59 balls, before the veteran Siddle claimed his scalp.

Richardson was just one of five wickets Siddle took in the second innings, and he went on to finish with figures of 5-40 – and an economy rate of 1.80 to boot – off 22.1 overs.  In the end, Western Australia were dismissed for 230 in the second innings, setting Tasmania a target of 217 to win.

Sensing that time was off the essence, opener Caleb Jewell got off to a flying start, notching up 52 runs off just 51 balls until he was sent back to the sheds.  Charlie Wakim (50 off 81 deliveries) worked with Ben McDermott (18 off 58) and Jordan Silk (12 off 22) to anchor the innings, but in the end, it was captain Beau Webster (19 off 20), Jake Doran (19 off 22) and Jarrod Freeman (21* off 19) who ensured the Tigers got home.

Entering the field of play with just two runs required for an outright victory, it was Siddle who hit the winning runs for the Tigers, cementing the three-wicket win despite facing just a single delivery in the 54th over of the innings.

Despite playing just two days of the four-day match, Lawrence Neil-Smith was aptly adjudged Player of the Match at the conclusion of play.  Neil-Smith secured a 5fa with the ball in the first innings, as well as securing a top-score for the match of 60 (126) with the bat on day two.