Cricket in Grosser?s blood
By TONY WHITE
IT is no surprise Tim Grosser has developed into a classy cricketer.
The talented Westlawn Grafton Hotel all-rounder has made a big impact in his first full season in the Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League cricket competition.
And with the finals series beginning early next month, Grosser is certain to play a major role in Westlawn's bid to win the premiership for the fourth successive season.
You could say Grosser was born to play the ancient game. As a toddler, a cricket bat and ball were part of the furniture around the Grosser family household in his home town of Gunnedah.
Grosser's father, 'Tim' John William Grosser, was a legendary figure in country cricket circles who played Shield cricket for NSW in the 1969-70 season.
Tim senior was also a country selector for more than a decade and chairman for six years.
"He retired last season. He's got no active role in cricket for the first time since he was an eight-year-old. He's gone cold turkey," Grosser joked.
Grosser, born in 1970, is the eldest of four children. He has two sisters, Sally and Georgina, and brother Stephen.
As you would expect, Grosser took up cricket early, graduating from the traditional family backyard games to schoolboy then first grade and representative cricket with various clubs in Australia and overseas.
"As a kid I spent most Saturdays scoring for dad's team, then getting into the dressing room and dressing up in anyone's gear I could find," Grosser said.
"From about the age of 11 or 12 I spent Saturdays playing junior cricket in the morning and senior in the afternoon.
"Dad kept playing until he was 43 in 1985. His mind was willing but the body wasn't.
"His last season was my first in first grade.
"I got to play alongside him for one season.
"But he was the hardest captain I've ever played under."
Grosser snr was from the old school. How you conducted yourself and how you dressed were important and he believed a reflection on the family. Life was what you made of it, not what it gave you.
"Yeah, dad was never short of an opinion, he's still the same today," Grosser said.
"He expected the very best from everyone. He set a high standard from the way he dressed to the way he conducted himself and he expected everyone else to be the best they could.
"That's not a bad philosophy.
"Out of all the advice he gave, probably one of his best sayings was 'you can't make runs in the dressing room'. It's a simple philosophy but so true, particularly if you're a batsman."
And Grosser snr was quite a batsman.
In one month he managed to score a whopping 800 runs.
"It was in 1962 and he scored two double centuries and two centuries," Grosser jnr said.
"The double centuries and a century were in district (representative) cricket.
"He came out in the first representative match the following year and scored 193 against Tamworth just to prove it was no fluke."
In Grosser snr's early days, travel was part and parcel of being a country cricketer.
"He used to travel from Gunnedah to Sydney by the mail train on Friday nights to play with Balmain first grade," Grosser said.
"Sometimes he'd even return after the game to play for Gunnedah on Sunday."
The old mail train took approximately nine hours to reach Sydney.
Grosser snr toured with the Emus in 1961 and '66, captaining the '66 side that also included legendary Clarence Valley cricketer Neil Frame, the father of retired South Services skipper John Frame.
Grosser's brother, Stephen, also toured with the Emus in 1991-92.
"Stephen was a good cricketer but he had worse knees than dad and I," Grosser said.
"He had both knees reconstructed and gave the game away."
Tim Grosser jnr, who attended St Mary's College in Gunnedah, made his first grade debut with his father's old club, Albion, when he was just 15.
After leaving Gunnedah he spent six seasons with University of NSW in Sydney while studying.
"I ended up in England for 12 months in 1996 teaching and playing with Bickley Park Cricket Club in the Kent League," the 35year-old said.
"I was then seven years on the Gold Coast with Gold Coast Dolphins in the Brisbane League where I taught at Somerset College, Mudgeeraba."
Grosser ? married to wife Renee with two children, Harry 3-1/2 and Hannah 20 months ? arrived in Grafton just over 12 months ago to take up a teaching position at The Cathedral School.
"I'm very happy to be back in the country," Grosser said.
A friend gave him Westlawn captain Tony Blanch's number and he signed up with the area's leading club.
"Its been great fun. I'm past the point of getting too stressed about cricket," Grosser said.
"On the field there is a lot of talent, not just in our team. I hope the young blokes keep on with their game and pursue their careers.
"We've got a good team, we should be there or thereabouts in the finals. I'm enjoying my cricket, except Sunday through to Thursday when my knees are packed in ice."
In his younger days Grosser was a tearaway fast bowler, but 'learned off dad bowling offies is a lot easier on the body'.
Grosser modestly suggested he was 'not half as good a player as dad', but during his own career has scored around six centuries and taken a mass of wickets.
"It's not all about making tons. Getting 50s or a quick 30 or 40 can be often just as important. Helping the team to win games is what it's all about," Grosser said.
Grosser's tenure with The Cathedral School is two-fold.
Apart from his teaching abilities, he is also charged with promoting sport at the school.
"Part of my job is trying to develop sport and develop cricket as much as I can at the school," he said.
"I'd love to see this school grow and establish itself more, particularly in sport.
"Hopefully we can have enough boys to enter The Daily Examiner Cricket Shield next season."
Grosser, given his knees hold up, harbours one burning ambition.
"My goal is to one day play in the same team as my son," he said.
"Given my legs, I don't know whether I can meet that, but I'd love to stick around long enough for it to happen."