Sheffield Shield 2021-22
Emotional Marsh to cherish elusive Shield win
Debuting shortly after Western Australia's last Shield title, it's been a long road to success for 38-year-old skipper Shaun Marsh
Jack Paynter at the WACA Ground
4 April 2022, 05:16 PM AEST
After 21 years of first-class cricket, there's not much Shaun Marsh hasn't achieved.
Thirty-eight Tests for Australia, a whitewash Ashes series win, two Ashes hundreds, part of a World Cup squad, plus two KFC BBL titles and three Marsh Cup wins makes for an impressive CV.
But there was one thing that had eluded him – and Western Australia – since his debut against South Australia in March 2001.
And now, 7,704 days later, Marsh has finally added a Sheffield Shield to his illustrious career.
On Monday, after WA had batted out a draw against Victoria at the WACA to secure their first Shield since 1998-99, an emotional Marsh choked back tears describing the moment he saw his family in the stands.
After embracing his teammates and shaking hands with the Victorian players, he made a beeline straight for his wife Rebecca and three children Austin, Mabel and Ted waiting just behind the pickets in the Lillie-Marsh Stand.
"They've been wonderful supporters, they've sacrificed so much, especially in the last three years," Marsh said.
"Bec looking after the three kids like she has and me being away for a fair bit of it, to be able to share this with them today, it means a lot.
"They're my number one supporters and always will be. I'm so happy they could see this today and be a part of it."
The 38-year-old said he became overwhelmed with emotions as he enjoyed a quiet moment with his team in the dressing room in the 20 minutes before lunch on day five as the match came to its conclusion.
"It was pretty emotional. I shed a few tears and I guess the reality of what was about to happen was starting to sink in," the left-hander said.
"Honestly, I was just so proud, a couple of massive individual efforts to get us through this game, I just couldn't be prouder of the guys.
"I've really enjoyed my role as captain over the last few years, they're a really easy bunch to captain, they're a great bunch of young kids, I've sort of treated them as my little brothers over the last three years since I've been back here full time.
"To have the opportunity to play in a Shield final at home, we earnt the right to do that and to be able to play in front of our family, our friends, our members and supporters that came down and supported us right through the five days.
"We really felt that when we were out there, it was just incredible."
Marsh said day four, when WA were reduced to 5-110 in their second innings before Sam Whiteman and Aaron Hardie batted them out of trouble with 174-run sixth wicket partnership, was the "best and worst day" of his life.
"The emotions were going through my body and I couldn't be more prouder for Sammy and Hards and that partnership," he said.
"The game was in the balance and the way those two come out and batted, it was just incredible and really put us into a commanding position."
As for what's next, Marsh said he still hasn't thought about it and would spend next few days soaking it all in before turning attention to his playing future for Western Australia.
"I'm really going to enjoy this moment and enjoy it with the boys, we've really earnt this, it's been a few years in the making," he said.
"I'll sit down with (Adam Voges) at some stage and we'll see what next year looks like, but at the moment I'm not even going to think about it, I'm going to celebrate with the boys and really cherish this moment."
One thing that is for sure, his teammates appreciate having him around and will forever treasure being part of his first Sheffield Shield win.
"It's something I'm going to cherish to the day I die," 17-year-old second-gamer Teague Wyllie said.
"Sos (Marsh) has been an absolute hero of WA cricket for 21 years so to be able to say I've played a few games alongside him is unbelievable."
If Marsh, who had played four seasons before Wyllie was even born, doesn't go on after today, he finishes his career with 12,015 first-class runs and 32 centuries, including six in Test matches for Australia.
The Marsh Sheffield Shield final will be broadcast live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports, as well as streamed free on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app