Top 30 Shield seasons of the past 30 years: 30-26
We’re counting down the 30 best individual seasons in the Sheffield Shield from the past 30 years. Today, we look at a rookie keeper and a relative unknown
28 September 2020, 03:18 PM AEST
30) Matthew Wade (Vic), 2008-09
Matches: 11 | Runs: 545 | Ave: 49.55 | 100s: 2 | HS: 100no | Ct: 57
Matthew Wade debuted as a 19-year-old for Victoria in the 2007-08 season, but it wasn't until the back half of the following Shield campaign that the aggressive left-hander really began making a name for himself.
Wade turned 21 that Boxing Day and after failing to reach 20 in six out of seven innings before Christmas, he found his feet afterward. In eight trips to the crease, Wade posted scores of 41, 8no, 62, 100, 46no, 100no and 70 to play a key role in Victoria's charge to the Shield title.
The centuries were his first two in first-class cricket and quickly put him in the mix for higher honours.
With the gloves he was even more impressive, averaging more than five catches per match to come within one of Wade Seccombe's Shield record for most dismissals in a season (58).
29) Doug Bollinger (NSW), 2007-08
Matches: 7 | Wkts: 45 | Ave: 15.44 | 5wi: 5 | BBM: 12-131
A hat-trick and an eight-wicket match haul in the Blues' season opener against Western Australia set the tone for Doug Bollinger's spectacular 2007-08 Shield campaign.
The left-armer was 26 at the time and his combination of pace and swing proved a serious handful for some of the country's finest batsmen, including Justin Langer and Shaun Marsh, who were both second-innings victims as he bowled NSW to victory with 5-38 in round one that summer.
Six wickets followed against South Australia and 10 days later, he devastated Tasmania with 6-68 and 6-63.
By the end of January, after another 10-wicket haul against WA, Bollinger was on track for all sorts of records, having taken 44 wickets in six matches, with potentially another five remaining on his schedule.
Alas, a broken foot against Victoria sidelined him for the summer, ending a truly remarkable run of form from the effervescent quick.
28) James Hopes (Qld), 2010-11
Matches: 7 | Runs: 587 | Ave: 58.70 | 50s: 6 | HS: 92 | Wkts: 27 | Ave: 20.11 | 5wi: 2 | BBM: 8-116
Not two weeks after he made what would prove to be his final appearance for Australia, James Hopes turned out for his first match of the 2010-11 Shield season. Queensland's newly-installed captain took 0-32 and made 3 and 4 as New South Wales thrashed his team by an innings.
His fortunes changed thereafter, with both bat and ball, as Hopes – despite playing only seven matches – finished the Shield summer among the top 10 run-scorers and wicket-takers.
Against Tasmania, four wickets were complemented by a quick-fire 73 (the first of six half-centuries in 11 trips to the middle), and in Queensland's next match, at home to South Australia, he made a nerveless 46no from 38 balls to guide his team to a five-wicket win.
The right-hander made 77 against the Vics in Melbourne and then dominated the Redbacks in Adelaide in February, making 92 (99) and 30 and taking a second-innings 6-50 to again lead his team to victory.
As Australia lamented an Ashes thrashing on home soil and selectors grappled with the make-up of their XI, the under-rated Hopes continued doing the business in the Shield; five wickets and scores of 80 and 68 in Perth were followed by a dashing 84 and another match-wicket second-innings 6-89 against Victoria as the Bulls finished third on the ladder.
27) Chris Rogers (Vic), 2008-09
Matches: 10 | Runs: 1195 | Ave: 74.68 | 100s: 5 | HS: 159
Chris Rogers fell seven runs short of the 1,202 runs he had scored in the 2006-07 Shield campaign with WA, but this effort ended with a century in a winning Shield final with the Vics.
The left-hander was among the most consistent batsmen of his era, and while his time in the Test side would come belatedly in his career, he spent his first-class years simply piling on the runs.
The 2008-09 season was a fine example of his consistency; in 19 trips to the middle, he passed fifty on 10 occasions, including scores of 63, 51 and 159 in his first three matches.
As Simon Katich was given the nod to open in Australia's first Test side alongside Matthew Hayden, Rogers responded with 115 and 147no against Western Australia, and after Christmas he was at it again, making 93, 61 and 82 in consecutive innings.
A fourth century of the season followed against Queensland and he repeated the feat against the same opposition in the decider, capping off a remarkable campaign with 105 in the first innings and claiming his first Shield title to boot.
26) Jon Moss (Vic), 2003-04
Matches: 11 | Runs: 930 | Ave: 66.42 | 100s: 1 | HS: 172no | Wkts: 19 | Ave: 27.05 | BBM: 4-113
There won't be any more obscure names on this list, but Victorians will doubtless have a place in their heart for allrounder Jon Moss, who helped his state to a Shield title with a superb all-round summer in 2003-04.
It was a batsmen's season (eight players posted in excess of 900 runs and no bowler took 40 wickets) but Moss managed to shine in both departments, finishing as the only player to appear in the top 20 lists for runs and wickets.
The right-hander and right-armer had played three previous Shield campaigns for the Vics, but this was comfortably the standout season of his career. He posted fifties against four of the five states (seven in total), and regularly chipped in with wickets amid tight spells (his best of 4-60 came against Tasmania).
Sandwiched at No.4 between Brad Hodge and David Hussey in a high-quality Victoria side, Moss held his own, his finest performance an impressive 172no in Perth.
He capped off his summer with 98 and 3-18 as Victoria won the Shield final against Queensland.
Make sure to return to cricket.com.au and the CA Live app all this week as we continue our countdown of the best Shield performances of the past 30 years