Tamworth skipper named NSW Country's best cricketer

HIS focus might be on rugby union at the moment but Tom Groth’s cricketing talents have landed him a major accolade.

The Tamworth and South Tamworth skipper is the 2011-2012 NSW Country Cricketer of the Year.

Groth has been outstanding since his return from Sydney and his glovework has seen him one of the first picked for the Bush Blues.

He’ll be presented with his award at the NSW Country Cricket annual dinner in Tamworth on August 18 and is the third Tamworth player to win the award in the past five seasons.

Jeff Cook won it back in 2007-8 and Josh Hazlewood in 2008-09.

Groth was surprised when he found out.

“I don’t know how I won it,” he said.

“But it’s a nice accolade to have.”

The award is based on performances over the season – in Groth’s case for NSW Country, Central North and Tamworth.

It is also a reward for his excellent service over many years, Country Cricket program manager Bruce Whitehouse said.

“Over many years he’s performed like a champion,” Whitehouse said.

“He’s committed, and players love playing with him.”

It caps what was an almost perfect season.

“It was a good season – winning the (Australian Country) Championships for the first time for me after being unable to for a few years and the club stuff,” he said.

“The only disappointment was the Tamworth rep stuff.”

Tamworth was unable to defend its SCG Country Cup title, missing out on the finals series for the first time for at least five or six years.

“It was a bit of a rebuilding year for us,” Groth said

He had mixed views about his personal efforts.

“I was happy with my rep season,” he said.

“I thought my club form was not as good as it has been.”

“Hopefully next year I’ll go all right.”

South has already started talking about next year and could have a few changes to the roster.

Matt Everett and Nick Leyden are two who might not be around next season.

But that’s still a little way off yet. First there are another six rounds of rugby to negotiate.

On Saturday, Groth helped the Narrabri Blue Boars to a 41-17 win over Barraba.

He picked up the three best and fairest points for his involvement in the 24-point win.

It was a welcome result.

“We’ve had a pretty tough couple of weeks,” Groth said.

Injuries have really hurt them but they haven’t quite given up hope of figuring in the finals, although things are very much out of their

control.

“We’ve just got to win as many games as we can,” Groth said.

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