Tim Ward has kicked off the Sheffield Shield season with an impressive 126* (270) on day one of Tasmania‘s rescheduled clash with Queensland.
After winning the toss, stand-in captain Beau Webster had no hesitation in batting first on a flat pitch at Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide.
Despite losing opener Caleb Jewell (10 from 14) with the score on a meagre 14, the Tigers went about asserting themselves on the contest thereafter. A 120 run stand between Ward and number three Charlie Wakim (62 from 133) provided a rearguard effort against an experienced Queensland attack.
When Wakim fell to Mark Steketee after lunch, the big-hitting Ben McDermott (71 from 158) joined Ward and the fine batting display continued. Their partnership of 145 lasted until the dying moments of the day, with McDermott hauling out to fine leg, where Matt Renshaw took the easiest of catches.
Nightwatchman Lawrence Neil-Smith saw out the remaining four overs of play alongside the unbeaten Ward. The pair will return to the crease on day two with Tasmania well-poised at 3/285.
Without question, the day belonged to Tim Ward though. His fluid stroke play on each side of the wicket was the highlight of play and is reflected by his well-struck 17 fours.
Amazing still was the maturity shown by a player in just their second first-class match to take control of an innings.
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Speaking to media at stumps, Ward reflected on his pride in the achievement while maintaining focus on the task at hand.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’ve obviously still got a job to do tomorrow,” he said.
“I was just really happy to do my part for the team in the end and hopefully cash in on a big one tomorrow.
“I’ve done all of the hard work now. Hopefully, we can set up the game and get the win.”
With a host of senior squad members missing through injury and T20 commitments, as well as a delayed start to the season, a vacancy in Tasmania’s batting ranks opened up.
This soon turned into an opening role, following the shift by long-term opener Jordan Silk to the middle order.
No stranger to facing the new ball, Ward jumped at the chance presented.
“I’ve probably done 99 percent of it (batting) as opener,” he told.
“I enjoy opening and it’s where I want to be.”
The maiden century is a just reward for the 23-year-old who left New South Wales in search of greater opportunities. Playing on a rookie contract, the former Parramatta stalwart has started the process of owning a spot in the right manner.
“I’ve just tried to work as hard as I can, score some runs in club cricket and I’ve been lucky enough to play for Tassie,” Ward said.
“I was just looking to play 10 Shield games, that’s all I could have asked for and I’ve been pretty lucky to start the way I have, to be honest.
“It was great scoring runs for Parramatta obviously, but you can’t beat this.”
Play will resume on day two in Adelaide at 10:30 am local time.
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