He has worked with some of Australian sport's biggest and most colourful names, but giving back to the community through grade cricket may be Bill Anderson's most enduring legacy.
The 75-year-old Sylvania resident coached NSW cricket alongside former Australian captain and coach Bob Simpson and helped Jack Gibson coach the Eastern Suburbs Roosters to premiership glory.
But it is his ongoing involvement in Sydney grade cricket which recently earnt him a Distinguished Long Service Award at the 2023 Sports Foyer NSW Community Sports Awards.
Bill has been involved in grade cricket since making his first grade debut with Petersham Marrickville District Cricket Club in the 1964-65 season. The club merged with Randwick, becoming Randwick-Petersham 23 years ago and Bill remains active with the club to this day.
As a former coach and the club's current first grade manager and director of cricket operations, he has overseen the recruitment, mentoring and assistance of hundreds of players over the years.
Perhaps his greatest legacy is that of being a driving force behind the establishment of the Usman Khawaja Foundation, which assists disadvantaged and multicultural youths by helping them to assimilate into society via sport.
Bill is a friend and mentor to current test opener Khawaja, who first came to the club as a Green Shield (under 16s) player, having previously played his junior cricket for Sydney Coastal.
"Uzzy opened the batting for that Sydney Coastal team with (fellow test opener) David Warner when they were in the under 10s, so not many of the boys got a bat in that team," Bill said.
"Uzzy was very shy at the time (he first joined the club), not like he is now. He was a bit introverted, which is normal for a young man who has come from another country."
It was his talent for ball sports which helped Khawaja make friends and find a sense of community.
A few years ago, the two friends found themselves having a conversation about how they could give back to others in the community.
Khawaja - who also holds aviation and commercial pilot's licences, identified sport and education as the two things that had been most vital to helping him growing up.
The program offers free cricket clinics to both boys and girls - often from disadvantaged, First nations or multicultural backgrounds. It also provides each child with take home packs containing educational materials and basic cricket gear.
Bill said he recalled thinking about what a big future Khawaja had in front of him when he was playing grade cricket. He hopes the foundation will help make it easier for other kids from similar backgrounds to reach their potential.
"Uzzy would come in (to the dressing rooms), having just been to Bankstown airport, in his jacket with the shiny little stars and his pilot's hat.
"I used to look at him and shake my head and just think this bloke could be anything. When you look at him and how eloquent he is, how he speaks, he could be Prime Minister."
Bill has also been a driving force behind the club's Cricket4Community program, which encourages members to both grow as cricketers and be socially minded by taking part in a range of charity and community initiatives of their choosing. The initiative also sees the club running numerous clinics for kids who may not have experienced the game.
Bill said he is very proud of the way both Khawaja and the team have performed so far in the Ashes series.
He said he has not spoken to his great mate Khawaja about Alex Carey's controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow in the second innings at Lord's. The dismissal saw the Aussie keeper catching the England batter off guard when he wandered out of his ground.
Nor has he spoken to Khawaja about his resulting confrontation with a verbally abusive member in the hallowed Long Room.
Bill said as far as the dismissal itself goes, he had no problem with it.
"The first thing is, I think we're all aware by the laws of the game, Bairstow was out," he said.
"And really, he'd been doing this a long time, and it was there for all to see.
"Carey just took a punt, because when he let it go, Bairstow was still in his crease, but true to form he left his crease."
He did however say he is not a fan of another tactic both teams have employed at certain times throughout the series.
"I found the second test very tedious at times because of the short pitched bowling and fielders set back on the fence.
"I think the way to stop that is for the umpires to call both captains in and say we are going to enforce the over head height wide ball very strictly.
"If they do that, they'll stop it very quick."
Bill's cricketing career as a player was cut short when he was approached by Jack Gibson to join his coaching staff for the 1975 season.
The Roosters would go on to win the grand final that year, defeating St George 38-0.
"Before I knew it, I was an assistant coach for Easts in (what was) a great year for Easts," he said.
"Jack ran a very tight football club, and I think if Jack picked you to play for Eastern Suburbs, in your mind you must have thought if Jack thinks you can do it, you can do it.
"The grand final - just to be a part of it was exciting, but Easts had a marvellous team in those days.... I still think Arthur Beetson's the best player I've ever seen or been involved with."
Bill would follow Gibson to South Sydney, where he would eventually take over as head coach. He also served as head coach for the Balmain Tigers.
In cricket he coached NSW to the 1985-86 Sheffield Shield title after taking over from Simpson.
Bill said he was pleased to have been able to give back to the community through sport - which has given him as much as he has given it.
"If people ask 'why do you give up all this time to help other people?' The answer is, I enjoy it.
"Everyone needs a purpose in life - it might be family, a wife, a pet, and I've got all those things, but I've also got my cricket."
He encouraged any senior looking for meaningful things to do in life to go down to their local sporting club to ask if they can lend a hand.
"You'll be welcomed with open arms. Mixing with young people is good for the soul."
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