IN THE picturesque valley of Nook, halfway between Devonport and Sheffield, cricket history is being made.
Nook is a district, not a town – so small it doesn’t even have a pub.
But amid the tapestry of cow paddocks sits a paddock like no other.
There are never any cows in this one.
But it does have a concrete strip up the middle and a shed so quaint it belongs in a sepia-tone photo.
It’s the Nook Cricket Ground.
Somehow, this tiny district has managed to summon 11 men to form a cricket team on most summer Saturdays for the past 130 years.
The club has tried to adhere to Mersey Valley Cricket Association rules and field two teams, but it could never get enough blokes together.
Despite the fact this is probably the smallest cricket club in the North- West, it managed to outlive even the cricket association it was part of for more than 100 years.
The Kentish Cricket Association folded back in 2004 as the teams Nook had battled for generations one-by-one fell away.
Nook, perhaps the smallest of them all, joined the MVCA.
At this time its hallowed ground – one of only a couple of privately owned cricket grounds in the Southern Hemisphere – underwent one of the biggest construction projects in its history.
The boys put up a practice net.
Only one, mind you.
You shouldn’t get carried away with infrastructure when there’s only 11 of you.
In the past it was almost a club tradition to leave the first training run until the Thursday before the first game.
Sometimes, training stopped weeks before the finals – if you’re not in form four months into the season, you’re never going to be.
That was until this year.
The tiny family club has turned “professional”.
For the first time since it was formed in the 1880s, the club has employed a coach.
Scott Jaffray cut his teeth as a youngster at Nook and, after a few years playing turf cricket at CNW club Sheffield, has returned to take the helm of a club that has a shed full of golden friendships but not much silverware.
Jaffray jumped at the chance to return to a club where he has such fond memories, at the start of what he believes will be a golden era.
“There’s quite a few young players with potential there now,” he said.
“The club’s got a really bright future, they’ll do a lot of improving in the next two years.”
Nook could create club history tomorrow by actually training before November.
It will start with a light training run and meet-the-coach barbecue at 10.30am at its ground on West Nook Rd, 15 minutes south of Devonport.
The Nook Cricket Club’s first ever coach Scott Jaffray (right) with players (from left) Andrew Mansell, Greg Hinrichsen, Stephen Wood and Nick Sallese. Picture: Stuart Wilson.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.