Pat Rosser admits there were times in the past when he truly didn’t appreciate being part of the National Indigenous Cricket Championships.
It was another cricket tournament, albeit played in Alice Springs, and the focus was purely on helping New South Wales claim another title.
But the former Parkes standout and one-time Western Zone captain said this season’s tournament was the one of the most special he’s been a part of.
Largely, because he’s been able to help younger players like the star Dubbo trio of Ben Patterson, Brock Larance, and Marty Jeffrey.
NSW romped to a second consecutive and record seventh NICC title on Monday night, Patterson producing another stellar all-round performance as the Blues downed Queensland in the decider.
“When I was younger I probably didn’t understand the significance of the tournament in terms of culture and representing your state,” Rosser said.
“But this year was extra special for a number of reasons for me. My family came up for the second half of the tournament and my son got to see me win and make a few runs and he also spent a lot of time with people like ‘Patto’ and Brock so it was great.
“Being that bit older I was also able to mentor and nurture some of the younger guys and seeing them do well was as pleasing as anything.
“It was a fantastic week and one of the most memorable trips I’ve done.”
Rosser and the Dubbo trio did Western Zone proud at the titles, being four of the standout players at the tournament.
CYMS teenager Brock Larance finished as the leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps, one more than Newtown quick Patterson, who bagged the only five-wicket haul of the tournament.
Jeffrey was effective every time he bowled and finished as one of the most economic bowlers at Alice Springs and Rosser said the RSL-Colts was invaluable around the camp.
“They did really well,” Rosser said of the trio.
“I hadn’t had much to do with Brock or Marty but I knew ‘Patto’ from playing rep a few years ago. It was nice to see he’s developed and matured and his cricket is sensational.
“His skill level when bowling at the death and his hitting is fantastic.
“Brock had limited chances with the bat but bowled really, really well and Marty was the same. He ttok a heap of wickets and and his energy and fielding throughout the week was excellent.”
Rosser himself was the second-leading run-scorer at the carnival and provided crucial runs for NSW regularly at the top of the order.
The Blues’ campaign started with a tough 10-run win over Victoria in what turned out to be their closest game of the tournament.
Five more crushing wins followed, setting up a semi-final clash with Tasmania.
Rosser made 64 in that clash before Patterson took a terrific 5-12 from 3.5 overs as Tasmania was rolled for just 67 in a massive 103-run loss.
The Twenty20 decider also turned out to be one-sided, Patterson taking a wicket on the very first ball on his way to taking 2-16 while Larance jagged 3-23 as Queensland posted 9/105.
Patterson’s brutal 53 from 30 balls meant the match was over inside 15 overs.
“To be honest, I don’t think we lost an hour of cricket all tournament,” Rosser said.
“We were pretty clinical across the park and executed every plan well.
“I said to the boys before the final us and Queensland had won (the title) six times each so now we’ve won it the most, which is special.”
The win also marked the second time NSW has won back-to-back titles at the NICC.