The Intra State Australian Cricket Competition and major loss leader for Cricket Australia in their quest for world dominance in the land of the Silly Mid Off, Point and Square Leg has had a face lift and is set for new life as the Sheffield Shield again. Many Australian traditionalists have been unhappy with the retirement of the shield and its replacement by Pura, a milk brand.
The history of the shield goes back to 1891-92 when Lord Sheffield was in Australia as the promoter of the English team led by WG Grace.
At the conclusion of the tour, Lord Sheffield donated pound stg. 150 to the New South Wales Cricket Association to promote inter-colonial cricket in Australia.
His generous contribution would have gone unnoticed if there had been just one vote different at a meeting of the newly formed Australasian Cricket Council, which met at the Oxford Hotel in Sydney.
The council, made up of NSW, Victoria and South Australia, voted 6-5 to put the money towards an annual trophy. The five dissenting votes wanted the money simply divided equally among the three colonies and spent.
With such a huge focus on money and razmataz, it is reassuring to see the return of this 107 year old trophy, which was restored for free by a Queensland Jeweller. There are some things that money can't buy. I have been to a few games here and they are most noticeable for their being about as many players on the field as people in the crowd. South Australia have been pretty abysmal since I arrived here, despite having Jason Gillespie, Darren Leamann and that tall skinny kid who bowls fast (Shaun Tait) available for most games.
In the photograph from 1991, the tall guy at the left is James Sutherland, current CEO of Cricket Australia, who was a fast bowler for Victoria when they won it that year. He will announce the return of the trophy with new sponsor Weetbix today.
How many did you have for breakfast?
Meanwhile back in the Old Dart, the Old Farts Rule the Roost. Tradition wins out in the shaping of the New English Premier League, Cricket that is. Let's hope it doesn't rain on their parade. Wouldn't want to see anything radical old boy.