HE WAS the 17-year-old plucked from second grade to debut in Newcastle's
senior representative cricket team.
Now, 21 years down the track, it's fair to say Nick Foster has repaid the faith
invested in him by those visionary selectors.
Foster is not only Newcastle's incumbent captain, but the Stockton all-rounder
will rack up a rare milestone on Sunday when he plays his 50th match at the NSW
Merewether veteran Simon Moore is believed to be the only Novocastrian to
have played more country championships games than Foster, who said he has long
since lost count of his overall games for the city's rep team.
"In terms of all games for Newcastle, God knows," he told the Newcastle Herald.
"I wouldn't have a clue. If you include pre-season games and T20s and whatever
else, I guess it would be pretty close to three figures. "I know how many games
I've played at the country champs, but I've never really kept track of all the others."
A prolific wicket-taker with his off-spinners, Foster has worked tirelessly on his
batting over the years to become a genuine all-rounder. And at 38, he is enjoying
the game as much as ever and has had no thoughts of pulling stumps on his
"It's 20-odd years since I made my debut for Newcastle, and I've always regarded
it as an honour," he said. "I'm definitely keen to keep going. "I really enjoy playing for
Newcastle. I get a lot of pride out of representing the city, and since I've been captain, I
don't take that lightly.
"We've got a really good culture around our team and I'm really keen to see that
continue. I'm pretty passionate about seeing Newcastle do well. So I don't think I'll
be stepping down yet. If they want to get rid of me, that's
another story." Foster believes the desire to keep representing Newcastle
and NSW Country is what keeps him performing at a high level.
"I think I need that," he said. "That helps keep me motivated. I suspect if I
didn't have rep cricket, maybe I wouldn't work so hard."
Foster has steered Newcastle to victories in the past two country championships
and will be hoping to emerge from this season's edition, to be played on the Central
Coast, with a hat-trick of titles.
"I think three in a row has only ever been done twice before, by two Newcastle
teams," Foster said. "So it's a bit of a target for us."
Newcastle will play Central North on Friday, North Coast on Saturday and Central
Coast in Foster's milestone game, on Sunday