Few names in Australian sport are as recognisable, respected or renowned as that of Bradman. It’s a name associated with greatness, determination, passion and class, and one which brings with these characteristics a level of humbleness unrivalled for such incredible achievement.
It’s fitting, then, that one of the few cricketers around the country good enough to be dubbed, the Bush Bradman, is Monbulk Cricket Club’s Jason Fraser – a man who teammates and opponents alike over the past three decades would agree possesses each of these wonderful traits.
Raised in the small town of Monbulk, 42 kilometres east of Melbourne, Fraser was the eldest of four children to father Jim and mother Loraine – a family who adored sport and all achieved great success with the tight-knit community’s various teams. His siblings, younger brother Travis and twins Christian and Amber, were blessed to have such wonderful role models to look up to.
Fraser’s path to cricket success started early, following in his father’s footsteps and commencing his career with the club in the mid-1980s.
Jim, a talented bowler himself who played with the club for more than 30 years, winning numerous premierships, was quick to get young Jason into the sport he loved so much and his young son’s prodigious talent was obvious from the start – spent dominating the Ferntree Gully and District Cricket Association’s (FTGDCA) junior batting and bowling charts regularly, and being rewarded with selection in various representative sides. There was also room for premierships in his U14 and U16 years. His future was earmarked for senior success and that soon followed.
As a nervous, yet unwavering 14-year-old, Fraser commenced his senior cricket career in the summer of 1988-89, and while the individual returns were modest, the platform for success was being built.
The rewards for the strong foundation followed the next season, with the teenager averaging almost 50.00 with the bat and notching his first senior ton – a magnificent and unbeaten 116.
Succeeding with both bat and ball, and encouraged by all those who watched him play, Fraser soon realised his potential and ventured down the hill to try his luck with Victorian Premier Cricket side, Richmond.
His time at Richmond started in the club’s lower grades, however the rewards for his persistence and hard work soon followed. He was first selected as a member of the Victorian Under-19s team, playing alongside the likes of Australian great Andrew Symonds, and during the season of 1992-93 he was awarded his 1st XI club cap – becoming the 488th player to represent Richmond in 1st XI competition, following in the footsteps of another Monbulk Cricket Club legend, Ken Utting, who wore cap 409.
Across seven seasons with the Tigers, Fraser would go on to play many more games in the 1st XI and achieve great success, however despite this, at the end of the 1996-97 season he yearned a return to Monbulk and ever since, he’s terrorised the opposition.
The honours achieved by Fraser since his return to his spiritual home are second to none, and his records, quite simply, will never be broken.
1997-98 V.C.C.L. Representative XI
2005 Victoria Country Week Player of the Series
2008 Victorian Country Week Player of the Series
2 x Jack Fever Medallist
5 x Ron Lomax Medallist
6 x FTGDCA Batting Award
2005-06 FTGDCA Bowling Award
14 x Monbulk CC 1st XI Batting Award
10 x Monbulk CC 1st XI Bowling Award
13 x Monbulk CC 1st XI MVP Award
4 x 1st XI Premiership Player (2 x Captain)
2014-15 Awarded Monbulk Cricket Club Life Membership
Across his junior and senior cricket combined with Monbulk, Fraser has accumulated a staggering 11,711 runs (23 centuries) and taken 487 wickets. His highest score, an unbeaten 210 against Lysterfield in 1997-98, was the highlight of a phenomenal season where he scored 1,111 runs at a Bradman-esque average of 92.58.
From a senior perspective, which has essentially all been in the Club’s 1st XI, he surpassed the 10,000 run milestone this season and has taken more than 400 wickets – figures which are unrivalled in not just the FTGDCA, but community cricket world-wide. His 22 1st XI centuries is also a record unlikely to ever be broken.
While the list of honours and mind-boggling statistics are impressive enough, arguably even more so is ability to defy the aging process. While most 46-year-olds are slogging their way through veterans cricket every second Sunday or yelling abuse from beyond the boundary, Fraser spent his 2019-20 season dominating FTGDCA’s DeCoite Shield competition.
The ageless star turned in yet another incredible season, scoring 696 runs at 77.33, including a majestic 118 against Mountain Gate in early November. His dominance at the top of the order helped pave the way for the Club’s 13th 1st XI premiership, being awarded the honour last week after an abandoned grand final due to COVID-19. A day earlier, he took out his seventh FTGDCA Best and Fairest Award – a record unlikely to be broken anytime soon.
Beyond the records and honours, Jason Fraser has always been and continues to be one of – if not the most – likeable players in the FTGDCA, and he continues to give back to the club he’s called home for more than 30 years.
Yet again following in his father Jim’s footsteps, he too now coaches one a junior side and his two young sons, Jed and Mitch, are also developing their skills in the club’s strong junior program.
His value to the Club extends beyond the field, something highlighted in the words of Club President Jason Simmonds this week.
“In my 35 years of senior cricket at various clubs, in various competitions, quite simply – in my humble and honest opinion – Jason Fraser would be the most gifted local grade cricketer I have ever had the privilege of playing alongside,” Jason said.
“To see his exploits up close on field for over 20 years at the Monbulk Cricket Club has been like having front row tickets to the best show in town. Whether it be with bat, ball, or in the field, this guy’s talent continues to astound and amaze teammates, opponents and spectators alike.
“But this ability didn’t come about by luck. Although Jason has been blessed with a brilliant natural ability, it is his dedication to training and his want to get the absolute best out of himself, week in week out, year after year, which is why it’s absolutely no surprise he has become the magnificent player we see today.
“But even more importantly to his family, close friends, and others who have been fortunate enough to cross paths with him, all would agree that it is the wonderful human traits that comes naturally to Jason that makes him so special to so many.”
Rarely will you find a stronger character reference than that provided above, but then again, rarely will you find a person more deserving than the Bush Bradman, Jason Fraser.