HE has claimed 16 wickets so far this Sheffield Shield season, but unfortunately Trent Copeland could not help NSW to an outright victory over Tasmania on Thursday afternoon.
With rain having washed-out almost the entire third day of play at the SCG, a draw always looked likely.
Even after Tasmania declared at the start of play on Thursday morning and NSW followed suit after blasting 22 runs off four overs, neither side could force an outright result.
The Tigers reached stumps at 7-264, short of the 350 target it required.
While the Blues were unable to take the three additional wickets they needed in a tense finish, they still claimed first innings points.
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Copeland took four wickets in the first innings to see him ranking as one of the leading shield bowlers so far this season.
While it has triggered talk of a return to the national side, the Bathurst product is happy just to be doing a job for his Blues.
“I play to be successful, win games of cricket for NSW and if that leads to getting back into the national set-up that'd be awesome,” Copeland told AAP.
“But I'm certainly not holding my breath.
“I'll carry on doing what I do and that'd be the cherry on top, if it ever happened.”
After a draw with South Australia in the season-opener then a heavy loss to Victoria, NSW went into the third round match hungry for competition points.
Batting first at the SCG on Monday after winning the toss, the Blues lost Nick Larkin early on for six, but then set about putting themselves in a strong position.
A 125-run second wicket partnership between Daniel Hughes (78) and Kurtis Patterson (56) was backed up with impressive centuries from Jason Sangha (117) and Jack Edwards (101).
Copeland hit an unbeaten 27 off 33 deliveries to help NSW to 9-442 declared.
Words can’t really explain the magnitude of two teenagers coming together at 5/180, both scoring maiden first class 💯 for @CricketNSWBlues & leading the way to 440 at SCG. @JasonSangha3 117 @edwards_jackk 101— Trent Copeland (@copes9) November 6, 2018
Proud of you 🙌🏽 #Blue💙 #SheffieldShieldpic.twitter.com/LaRFAyTWrw
Copeland was then thrown the ball late on Tuesday and his three late wickets - finishing the afternoon with 3-22 - put NSW in a strong position.
“It was really good to see Trent Copeland bowl well and get three wickets at the back end of the day,” Sangha said.
On day three Tasmania resumed at 3-108, but soon found itself another wicket down as Copeland struck with the first delivery of the morning. He had danger man George Bailey caught behind by for one.
However, rain soon saw play suspended, leaving Tasmania trailing by 327 with six wickets in hand heading into the final day.
The Tigers began the final day by declaring, the move coming as the visitors looked to force an outright result.
The Blues did not spend long at the crease in their second dig – just four overs – before declaring at 1-22.
It meant Tasmania required 350 runs for outright victory and the Blues 10 wickets.
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By the lunch break the Tigers had 78 of those and NSW the one scalp thanks to Sean Abbott. At that stage Copeland had 0-22 off his eight overs.
After the break Alex Doolan gave the Tigers some hope as he upped the run rate, but after falling for 90 the game looked headed towards a draw.
However, four late Nathan Lyon wickets then added spice to the contest as Tasmania slipped to 7-250.
As the overs ticked down NSW surrounded the Tigers’ duo Beau Webster (80 not out) and Jackson Bird (six not out) with close fielders, but they resisted.
All over.— NSW Blues (@CricketNSWBlues) November 8, 2018
We came close, but just couldn't find those last three wickets.
Credit to both sides for giving it a red hot crack on the final day, but it ends all square at the @scg.#NSWvTAS#SheffieldShield Scorecards: https://t.co/OAMC1xiZc6pic.twitter.com/r0mmQuevmm
Copeland finished the second innings with 0-29 off 12 overs, adding to his 4-27 off 14.3 from the first dig.
Once again he was of the Blues’ most economical for the match alongside Abbott.
“I’m trying to be a leader and help other guys around me, I think it brings out the best in me,” the 32-year-old said.
“My job in this team has always been to be the reliable guy, sort of make the difference between my best and worst very small.
“In previous years, when Dougy [Doug Bollinger] and numerous other guys have been there to be the real strike weapons, I could sort of sit in the back ground and try to keep the runs down.
“It's a bit different now. I can go through phases where I'm the attacking guy or ... defend.”