Pad up for country fun

By VICKY ROEBUCK


Recently  I told you about the incredible generosity of some Hawke's Bay businesses which got together to sponsor the New Zealand Black Sticks, all in the name of the community.

I thought it was a generous thing to do.

Well, prepared to be bowled over because I've discovered another group of special people giving back to Hawke's Bay via sport - the re-established Clifton County Cricket Club.

Originally started in 1985, the club has been brought back to life this year by a group of local chaps who have a connection with, and great love of, cricket as well as a burning desire to create something for the community to enjoy.

I don't know the first thing about cricket but the chance to find out more during a lesson with cricket legend Mark Greatbatch was just too good to ignore.

Greatbatch is the unofficial patron of the club (I sense he doesn't like titles) and tells me he sees the club as "extremely positive" for the region.

From the start, he makes it clear the club is non-competitive. It is about offering people who have played and have lots of experience and skills to offer, a way back into the game. He tells me there is a huge amount of cricketing capital in this region and the club wants the Clifton club to be a vehicle for that, to put back into the game at the youth level.

He's passionate about the development of the game and younger players and is excited about the "real-life, on-the-spot tuition" club members can share with the younger players.

What comes through loud and clear is the importance of families being able to be included and share the fun.

(Let's face it, ladies, we are all for the boys playing sport but not if it means flying solo at home with the kids while they are out on the pitch.)

The club has certainly made having fun easy by selecting Te Awanga Downs Farm as its home. It is a beautiful setting with the pitch carved out in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by trees, with plenty of room for the kids to run round.

There are also plans for a pavilion and a croquet lawn for the women to enjoy a spot of sport as well (women are welcome to join). If owner Chris Nilsson has his way, there will also be a flying fox for the kids.

The club will build a fixtures calendar during the next few summers and is already getting plenty of requests from teams nationwide to come and play.

If you'd like to join or get involved visit: www.cliftoncricket.co.nz or email club secretary Sam Howard: info@cliftoncricket.co.nz

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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