HAVING recently played his 100th first grade game for Toronto Workers Cricket Club, Aaron Gray wants to kick on and make a really big score.
Gray’s first grade career at Toronto started at age 18.
The right-handed opening batsman made the move from Cardiff where he had scored a first grade century at age 17, and announced his talent to the competition.
But his top-grade career at Toronto was interrupted, due mainly to his commitment to the launch of his business, in 2010.
So he enjoyed several seasons in second grade, including three as captain.
With his new business venture now established, Gray is ready to re-establish himself as a first grader.
“I want to have another really good crack at this,” he said.
And with his beloved Kookaburras still searching for their first win of the season in Round 8, the first grade team could use some handy contributions from another experienced man.
“I’m very proud to have reached 100 games with the club,” he said, adding that the tendency for players to switch clubs these days meant that 100-cap milestones were increasingly rare.
He smiles when he concedes that his three-year stint as a teenager at Cardiff was an aberration which came about as a consequence of Southern Lakes Cricket’s structure at the time, and his friendship with a teacher at Morisset High School who convinced him to join Cardiff.
“But I was always a Southern Lakes boy,” he said.
In fact, Gray liked the set-up at Toronto so much that he got involved in the club’s administration (he is again the club’s president) and helped to forge links and a pathway for players between the Southern Lakes juniors and the senior club.
On the field, Gray concedes he is no longer the precocious kid he once was.
“For starters, I’m a lot less fit. I am only 33 even though I look like I’m 43,” he laughed.
“But I was always very aggressive as a young kid. I was a bit chirpy and tried to get under the skin of the opposition players.
“Now, I’m a bit more reserved.”
His memories of his first season at Toronto are vivid.
“We weren’t a great team,” he said. “And it was a very different brand of cricket than what I was used to at Cardiff.”
The default position for the Kookaburras was to attack, he said.
Gray joins an small club of 100-cap veterans in the top grade at Toronto.
Former Australia and NSW leg-spinner, the late Robert Holland, tops the list.
And the competition’s leading all-rounder, Joe Price, who has shifted to Wests, sits above Gray on that list with 122 games for the Kookaburras.
“I’m good mates with Joe, and he’ll always have me covered when it comes to stats, but I might get him on that one,” Gray said.