Stephan Grobler’s adult life has revolved around cricket – but now his family and an exciting new job come first. The 36-year-old all-rounder still hopes to play for the Oamaru club and North Otago as much as he can. He talks to Hayden Meikle.
Q You helped North Otago win the Hawke Cup in 2016 then headed off. What have you been up to since you left Oamaru?
I went back to Ireland, to play for Cork county. Then I went to Melbourne and had a season with Meerlieu Cricket Club. Then I went back to Cork for one more season there, and back to Meerlieu for one more season there.
Q How many seasons did you spend in Ireland?
I did four seasons there. It was an awesome experience. I captained Cork, and I was also made captain of Munster, the regional team which played in the first-class A twenty20 competition. That was quite good fun.
Q Is cricket on the rise in Ireland?
Yeah, they just got test status so they’re trying to make it as professional as possible. The big aim is to get Munster into the 50-over and three-day competitions. But I’m finished with Ireland now.
Q How long have you been basically playing cricket year-round?
For 15 years now. Yeah, since 2003. I’ve played in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
Q Ever feel cricketed out?
This winter was my first break in 15 years, and it was great to have a rest. I missed it a bit, but I’m back into it now. It’s just a bit difficult with my job because I’m on shift work. Any opportunity I get, I will play for Oamaru and North Otago, if selected. I would like to play for as long as I can. But the main focus now is my family and my job.
Q What job are you doing?
I’m process controller at Oceania Dairy. It’s a big opportunity, and I love the job I’m doing. It involves maths, and thinking, and it’s all very professional.
Q It’s coming up three years since you won the Hawke Cup. Fond memory?
Yeah, very special, especially as we were the second-smallest region to win it. We had a very good team that summer, and to go away from home and win the Hawke Cup was fantastic.
Q Any chance of a repeat this summer?
I think so. We’ve got some good players. Llew Johnson is available, and Jeremiah Shields has come back from England a completely different player. Jeremy Smith’s in there. And obviously Francois [Mostert] is pretty important.
Q A newcomer is Cormac Hassett. And I think we have you to thank?
Yeah, similar to the Francois situation. Cormac played with me in Ireland, and he used to play for my club in Australia. I got him to come and play for Oamaru and North Otago, and he’s also working at Oceania.
Q How is fatherhood treating you?
It’s awesome. It’s nice not to have to leave my son to play cricket. Lucy and I got married in April, and Luan will be 3 in April. It’s a South African name and it’s also the first two initials of Lucy and the last two initials of Stephan. I’ve taken him to cricket and I think he likes it.