Abbott rips through Tasmania as NSW book Shield final berth


“It’s nice to be taking wickets at important stages,” Abbott said. “To get your team into a final on the last day and do your job well is a great feeling personally.”

Abbott’s figures were his best in first-class cricket and they took him up to 31 wickets at 21.48 for the season.

The Blues’ other opening bowler, Trent Copeland, snared 8-119 for the match after his 6-88 in the first innings that helped NSW set up a 120-run lead.

With Western Australia beating Queensland by 136 runs, the Blues knew they had to push for an outright victory and were thrilled to be able to once again get the job done.

Matthew Wade’s dogged 65 in the second innings took him past 1000 runs for the season but it was in vain as the Blues solidified second spot on the ladder by 2.82 points over WA.

“I’m very proud of everyone,” Abbott said. “Not just the bowlers but the fielding group and the batters that have got through some tough stages as well. There’s plenty of confidence within the group but at the same time we’re pretty focused on how we want to go.”

NSW will face Victoria in the final next week at Junction Oval in Melbourne after the competition frontrunners knocked off South Australia – who finished their own season winless – by seven wickets.

It has been five years since the Blues won a Shield final and they have only made the big dance twice in the past eight seasons.

NSW captain Kurtis Patterson said: “I thought the boys finished the game in real style. Really looking forward to getting down to Melbourne and playing a really strong Victorian team.”

Victoria will be looking to claim a fourth title in five seasons and continue their recent dominance over the Blues.

Last week the blue baggers were below par in the batting stakes as Victoria bowled them out for 102 in pursuit of 166 thanks to a fiery display from James Pattinson, who took 5-25.

Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald

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