Book names Clifton Cricket Club among world's most remarkable

By Anneke Smith

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PITCH: James Nilsson (left) , Duncan Priest and Willie Murphy, club stalwarts of Clifton County Cricket Club which has just made the book 'World's Most Remarkable Cricket Grounds'. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN
PITCH: James Nilsson (left) , Duncan Priest and Willie Murphy, club stalwarts of Clifton County Cricket Club which has just made the book 'World's Most Remarkable Cricket Grounds'. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN

The Clifton County Cricket Club grounds in Te Awanga have made the book World's Most Remarkable Cricket Grounds by British author Brian Levison.

The book feature comes as a pleasant surprise to the club, whose grounds now feature amongst some of the most remarkably beautiful cricket settings in the world.

Club member Chris Ormond said he only found out about the book feature when he was approached by a member of the public and congratulated.

Mr Ormond said he thought the club's "quirkiness and spectacular scenery" was what landed it in the pages of a book that featured world-class forts, castles and stadiums.

"From the start we realised it was a pretty special place. We play a lot of competitive cricket but the kids also love coming out and local schools also use the grounds," he said.

Nestled amongst Te Awanga farmlands, the club started in 1985 and is now home to more than 300 local families who pitch in to keep the place ticking.

Club member William Murphy said the club's family-friendly nature was an important part of the environment they had cultivated.

"The big thing we tried to do is when starting up the club was to make it more family friendly by actively engaging with kids and families. It's not just about cricket," he said.

A landscape architect by trade, William Murphy is just one of many club members that have contributed their expertise to the club grounds.

"Everyone brings their own little bit of expertise. I think everyone involved has put in a huge amount," he said.

Mr Murphy said he suspected the book author Levison visited the grounds during the 2015 Cricket World Cup when the club hosted a friendly Art Deco match.

The Clifton Country Cricket Club has also featured in the book Cape Country, by Jenny Carlyon and Diana Morrow.

The book details "a group of old cricketing friends" inaugurating a popular family cricket club in which the sporting practices extended to swimming in rivers, sliding down hills and drinking beer under poplar trees.

Amongst the work done to maintain the rural property, the club has actively participated in the environmental Cape to City project that works to care for native species living within Hawke's Bay's agricultural landscape.

More than 10,000 plants have been planted on the club's grounds as part of a long-term project to regenerate bird flight paths around the area.

Mr Ormond said he was pleased with the club's recognition and thought the book would "put little old Hawke's Bay on the map".

The book is available for purchase for $49.99 at Wardini Books in the Havelock North village.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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