An injury to running machine Daniel Hughes contributed to a tough first day for winless NSW in their Marsh Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at Albury.
NSW was ejected for just 203 on a challenging surface at Lavington Sports Ground on Thursday.
On stumps, Victoria had reached 1-15 with Marcus Harris and night watchman Mitch Perry, both unbeaten on seven.
Fast NSW bowler Trent Copeland, who was playing his first Shield match in almost 12 months, sacked Travis Dean for one.
Second-placed Victoria is battling Queensland for a place in the Shield Finals with one more round to play.
Prolific opener Hughes excelled in a disappointing season for NSW but hobbled away with a calf injury and was eliminated on 22.
He had a scan late in the afternoon and his participation in the rest of the game and in next week’s season finale against South Australia is seriously in doubt.
Hughes was by far NSW’s best player that summer as he was the side’s leading shield run getter and equaled a record four one-day centuries.
NSW’s day could hardly have started any worse as young opener Blake Nikitaras fell short without finding Perry with the third ball of the day.
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It was the first of a four-wicket return for the steadfast Perry, having covered eight wickets last week with the 22-year-old finishing 4-24 from 14.3 overs.
Inaugural bowler Fergus O’Neill recorded 2-50 in a day when all but one of the wickets to fall were caught in the slips or by wicketkeeper Sam Harper.
NSW slipped to 3-43 and then 6-119 before lunch, with all recognized batters back in the pavilion.
But Chris Green continued his recent lower-order form with the racquet, hitting 52 in 8th place to lift NSW above 200.
Moises Henriques was second best at 29, while Ollie Davies hit a promising 28 on the debut.
Both teams entered without rested staff ahead of the upcoming one-day international series in India; Sean Abbott for NSW and Glenn Maxwell for Victoria.
https://www.cricket.com.au/news/match-report/victoria-nsw-day-one-albury-sheffield-shield-scores-highlights-perry-green-hughes/2023-03-02 Hughes’ injury adds to the NSW blues against Victoria