Almanac Cricket – Sheffield Shield: where were you when?

Dave’s guide to South Australia, No. 389: every South Australian of a suitable age can tell you where they were during the final 10 overs of the 1995/96 Sheffield Shield final.


30 March – 3 April 1996

Much like this season, having made top spot with five wins in 10 matches, SA hosted the final in late March, carrying the all important ‘draw means a win’ advantage with it. Unlike 2016 the SA line-up boasted five players that had/would play test cricket (Blewett, Lehmann, May, Gillespie and McIntyre) while WA had eight of their own (M Hussey, Langer, Moody, Martyn, Gilchrist, Angel, GB Hogg and Julian).

As was customary for the time, the Adelaide Oval deck was the consistency of nearby King William Road sans potholes. Sadly, Tom Moody won the toss and, rather sensibly, chose to bat first. Anchored, by a better than run a ball 189 not out from some bloke called Gilchrist, WA posted 9/520 in a day and a half.

Julian (five wickets) and Angel (three wickets) then worked their way through a leisurely South Australian 347, Nobes and Brayshaw contributing more than half the total. Wrapping up the SA innings early on Day 4, WA, well contained by test spinners May and McIntyre, methodically batted SA out of the match at 8/169, leaving almost four sessions to bowl to victory.

With SA 2/53 at stumps of Day 4, a long day of blocking was in order. Greg Blewett took 275 balls for his 72 and Tim May made a 52 ball duck. But when Jamie Siddons was the ninth wicket to fall after a remarkable 134 balls for his four runs (a boundary, naturally), Shane George strode out needing to see off 10 overs of bowling from one of the 1990s’ more effective first class attacks.

Now, George was not quite a bunny (a first class average of 9.42 with two 50s) but most hope seemed lost. But what followed meant South Australians can tell you where they were for the next 59 balls.


Where I was

I was at work in the China and Glass Department of John Martin’s (another South Australian peculiarity, owned by the delightfully named Adelaide Steamship Co. before being gobbled whole and phased out of existence by David Jones) at the glorious Marion Shopping Centre in Adelaide’s south western suburbs. I spent my 20 minute afternoon tea break in large electrical, watching George and McIntyre’s unflourishing non-stroke play as they held Hogg, Julian, Angel and Moody at bay (Holdfast, presumably).

Staff standing around watching the sales stock TVs was generally frowned upon by the sales managers but exceptions in such circumstances were made. 18 months later I would watch Mark West run into an open goal and miss in the closing stages of the AFL prelim on those very TVs and also bits of the 1997 and 1998 Grand Finals. That’s right, my comparatively brief retail career meant that I missed both Crows’ premierships.

Break over, I headed back to the china and glass and fell back upon 30 second snippets from the radio in the stock reserve, frequently ducking my head out to see if there were any customers/bosses on the floor. Every ball a dot (in the new parlance) and each one greeted with grandstand shaking applause. McIntyre and George just refused to get out.



And as McIntyre blocked the final Julian delivery into the offside and made for the dressing rooms just ahead of several thousand kids, students, the under-employed and people that had slipped out of work early, after a brief moment of jubilation I went to fix the tills for close of day.


We’re a weird mob

So as the Redbacks take to Glenelg Oval almost 20 years to the day since South Australia last played in a shield final, understand that this may hold greater meaning for croweaters than you might otherwise expect. The men’s state cricket team has, in a way, always been a projection of our identity – our strengths and our insecurities. A victory and young captain Travis Head enters SA folklore. A loss and that bloody stuff always happens to us.

As life would have it, my current employment means I’ll be in Brisbane late on the fifth day, should the game make it that far. Foiled once again.

So, where were you on 3 April 1996?

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. charlie brown says

    I was working at Prudential (a life insurance acquired shortly thereafter by Colonial and then CBA). My boss and the State Manager at the time was Rob Chapman (now Crows’ Chairman and prominent Adelaide business identity). We were keeping a close ear on the Day 5 scores and at Tea time decided to hold a management meeting at Adelaide Oval. So Rob, Bruce Tiver (and i think Stefan Lipkiewicz) and i adjourned to the old Sir Donald Bradman stand at the Southern End to watch what we thought were going to be the last few overs. I can still hear the roar as Peter Mcintyre blocks the last ball 2 hours later.

  2. Adelaide oval brings the well hidden inner batsman out of bunnies a la Lindsay Kline in the drawn test of 1961. The late Lindsay batted or parts thereof with slasher Mackay for 2 hours

  3. My earlier comment seems to have disappeared into the pre-Easter ether.

    I selflessly decided to collect a car part for the wife’s motor and was driving about in downtown Dry Creek listening on the wireless as we held on for that most curious of victories the dogged draw.

    I intend to be stretched out on the grassy hill just below Snout’s Bar for at least a day or two of this final.

    Thanks Dave; an excellent recap.

  4. Michael Crawford says

    I was there. I was a PhD student at the time, at the Waite campus in Urrbrae. Knocked off mid-afternoon, and rode the bike down the hill into town, just in case a miracle occurred (which it did!). Never have I been so excited to watch so much cricket and see so few runs. The innings from Jamie Siddons (one of the best ever Shield cricketers not to play test cricket) was an absolute captain’s knock, given that he had a leg injury and couldn’t run anyway. Whilst I was born and bred Victorian, I was definitely a croweater on that day in 1996. #realcricket.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I was stuck in an asbestos-ridden government building a Darren Lehmann pull shot away from the MCG.

    Since the internet was only used for the electronic transformation of nudie pictures encoded as text back in those days (apparently), I probably had to wait for Tim Webster to announce the Shield-winning exploits of Sean Graham and Peter McIndoe later that evening. The result may have got a run in The Argus or The Socialist Worker, but it wasn’t big news over here.

    And Dave, you should consider a September school holiday gig at DJs with that record. Please.

  6. jan courtin says

    No idea where I was Dave, However, I certainly remember where I was on March 28 the year before – 1995: At the Gabba, seeing my Maroons break the long-awaited drought, beating your lot!
    Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Dave Brown says

    Some great memories there folks. Nothing like an offsite management meeting Charlie.

    A lot of parallels with that test, Nank, right down to the batsmen picking an end and just sticking with it. Although, if forced to face a last over against Wes Hall or Brendon Julian, I’d face BJ I reckon (and get out first ball regardless).

    Something funny happened this morning Mickey. Enjoy the cricket.

    For a batsman who rarely left a ball, Michael, Siddons’s inning was just extraordinary.

    Perhaps we could crowd fund a DJ’s retention scheme for me, Swish (I still have my gold star somewhere). I remember the day I quit (in late ’98) thinking I’ll be able to watch the next Crows grand final live. Four(?) losing prelims later…

    Happy to be of service, Jan.

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Dave. Remember the result and watching highlights at the time, but not what I was doing. Remember being very happy for the likes of Tim May, Peter McIntyre, Blewett, Lehmann, Nielsen and of course the great Victorian Siddons. McIntyre was a superb leggie who was so unlucky for his career to mostly coincide with Warnie. Really rated Shane George too, very unlucky not to play for Australia in some form. South Australian Shield victories seem to be very much celebrated and fondly written about more than other states. I like that. But I’m firmly on the other side this week. Go Bushrangers!

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Dave I was at Adelaide oval well and truly the majority of the 5 days I was a nervous wreck watching at the end and just incredible feeling when we held on and partied hard at the planet that night and back at Ad oval the next night.With work I jogged to the doctors with a jumper on and trust me I was sweating profusely I did a fake cough when the doctor saw me tod me I looked dreadful ( I don’t disagree)
    and was given a sick certificate for a week.Pumped up and v v nervous re the final this week end at the bay go you Redbacks

  10. At the start of the final day I was at Flinders Uni listening in on my Sony Walkman (those were the days). I left my tutorial half way through and raced down to the Oval in my faded yellow VW Beetle with the crackling AM tuner to keep me apprised of developments.

    I made it in to the hill and watched what I thought was going to be the end of the SACA dream. I can remember the last 6 overs with each ball having its own count down and every block shot was cheered with the same volume as an Eddie Betts goal/ Chad Wingard hanger.

    Upon the succesful negotiation of the last ball, me and a mate made it on to the pitch first and I actually grabbed a stump only to be manhandled into submission by a security guy who let me go in exchange for the stump.

    I got a distinction for the subject I wagged that day.

  11. I was at the ground for the last hour and heard Malcolm scream from close range 3 cheers from Bomber Hammond who seemed to be left out of all thankyous

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Raj I reckon it’s the only time in my life I have got 10 thousand people to join me in 3 cheers for any thing
    Bomber did thank me and a few of the players have mentioned it since they were glad I did it as it was a poor over sight

  13. Dave, i cast my my mind back many seasons, 77-78 to be exact. The Vics played SA in Adelaide with the Vics on top much of the match. SA fought back on the last day and a big sixth wicket stand had brought them right back into the contest.

    The Vics then got four quick wickets, leaving them one wicket from a iwn.. The SA batsmen on strike, , it might have been Geoff Attenborough , skied an outfield catch. The Victorian fieldsmen, Northcote fast bowler David Knight, making his first class debut, got under the ball; he spilt it !!! SA home by a wicket.

    david Knight did not add to his tally of shield games. Though i’m not 100& sure of who skied the shot, David Knights dropped catch is etched in my memory.

    That ssi my lasting memory of a SA shield clash in Adelaide.


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