Out of Office: How EY accountant became Scorchers hero

Nick Hobson has made a living out of crunching numbers. The full-time accountant was the unlikely hero in Perth’s pulsating BBL title, writes ELIZA REILLY.

Nick Hobson has made a living out of crunching numbers.

As a full-time accountant at Ernst & Young, Hobson spends his days with Perth’s restructuring team, working with clients in the construction, mining and resource sectors.

But on Saturday night, he faced an equation of a different kind.

After accidentally running out captain Ashton Turner, Hobson and new man in Cooper Connolly needed 39 runs from 19 balls to steer the Perth Scorchers to a record fifth Big Bash League title.

The 19-year-old Connolly got the ball rolling with 25 runs off 11 balls before Hobson finished the Brisbane Heat with an unbeaten 18 off seven – including a six and four off Michael Neser‘s final over – to lift Perth to a pulsating five-wicket victory and send the 53,886-strong crowd into delirium.

It was well worth the annual leave the 28-year-old has to apply for each summer to live out his cricketing dream.

“He was supposed to be coming back today,” Hobson’s managing partner at EY, Sam Freeman, said. “But we said ‘No way.’ Win or lose, you’re going to need some time to debrief.

“We had a chat with him and it was very quickly agreed that we should push that back a week to let him enjoy the celebrations. It was fantastic to see him being able to contribute to the team in that way and have that success. We’re all so proud of him.”

Hobson added: “I actually called them last week and the first thing they said was, ‘You’re not coming back Monday are you?’. I said, ‘No I’m not. I’ll come back the week after. I’ll let it all decompress.”

Hobson’s feat was all the more remarkable given he is the only non-full-time cricketer in the Scorchers’ championship XI. He rode the pine during Perth’s BBL11 title last summer and managed just three one-day games for Western Australia in 2021.

At 28, and with a solid career, many in his position might have put the bat away and focused on the day job. But Hobson’s decision to continue balancing accountancy with cricket paid the ultimate dividend on Saturday night – a highlight reel moment that will live as long as the franchise.

“He works incredibly hard to manage effectively a professional sporting career alongside a full-time role,” Freeman said. “The great thing is he’s been able to progress in his professional accounting career while doing the same with cricket.”

When Hobson graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce at UWA and started full-time work in February 2018, he didn’t imagine he’d be playing in the BBL less than 12 months later.

But the loss of Michael Klinger (retirement) and Shaun Marsh (signed with the Renegades) meant Hobson received the contract call-up, specifically from former general manager of high performance Ben Oliver, in the middle of a work meeting.

“There have been times he’s had to step out of meetings and take calls and he walks back in with cricket opportunities,” Freeman said. “He doesn’t like to throw it out but he usually cops a, ‘C’mon, Nick, what have we got?!’ from all of us.

“Every sporting career has its ups and downs but it’s a testament to his resilience and strength of mind.”

Balancing life as an athlete and an accountant has not been without its challenges.

“There’s been some quick departures post-client engagement meetings,” Freeman said. “Or he’ll go directly from a client site to the oval. He’s a very organised individual as a result. He’s a natural leader and he builds rapport with clients quickly and easily. His on field skills add value to what we do.

“Our work isn’t predictable. He’ll work for numerous clients across the course of a year and find himself in situations with people who are dealing with complex, challenging and emotional situations.

“He can navigate through that and read the room and create a path forward. I have no doubt those are skills that he’s developed at club cricket and throughout his career.”

Hobson’s colleagues are planning a small in-office celebration when he returns to work.

“At the start, we said ‘Nick, you’ve got an incredible opportunity to carve out a sporting career. We don’t want your work with EY to hold you back, we want to support you through it,’” Freeman said.

“It’s been a two-way street because he gives so much back to us.”

Eliza Reilly is a Perth-based sportswriter for CODE specialising in AFL, AFLW and netball. Born and raised in Perth, Eliza started her career as a sports cadet at the Gold Coast Bulletin, progressing to deputy sports editor. In 2020, she returned home to join The West Australian where she got the chance to cover an AFL grand final in her home state. Eliza has also been recognised for her journalism, including winning a Clarion Award and multiple WA Football Media Guild awards including the Tracey Lewis Emerging Talent Award in her first year at The West.

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