The Marsh Sheffield Shield is one of the oldest cricket competitions in the world. Beginning in 1892-93 as a three-state contest between New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, the Sheffield Shield continues to be the breeding ground for Australian Test cricketers. First-Class cricket was played as far back as 1850 between the colonies though a formal competition would be more than 40 years away. The Shield itself was struck just prior to the competition beginning when Lord Sheffield donated £150 for the trophy’s creation. Queensland entered the competition for the 1926/27 season, with Western Australia admitted in 1947/48 and Tasmania in 1977/78. The competition was suspended during the First and Second World Wars, however First-Class cricket continued to be played amongst the states.
Until the 1982/83 season, the first-placed side after all home and away matches was declared the winner. Since then, the Sheffield Shield Final was introduced as a five-day match between the top two placed sides hosted by the higher-ranked team to decide the winner of the Sheffield Shield. In 118 completed seasons, New South Wales have won the most titles with 47, followed by Victoria (32), Western Australia (15), South Australia (13), Queensland (nine) and Tasmania (three). The Player of the Year Award was first presented in the 1975/76 season with the Chappell brothers Ian and Greg named joint winners.
The Sheffield Shield occupies a revered place in the history of Australian Cricket and is recognised as one of the strongest First-Class cricket competitions in the world.