At Strath Creek, nestled into the Valley of a Thousand Hills, is a little piece of English countryside the Hume & Hovell Cricket Ground.
It was carved out of a paddock in 1994 by cricket tragic Don McQueen and boasts six turf wickets on a ground encircled by a little white picket fence of around 4000 posts. The beautiful rose gardens are looked after by Don’s wife Anne. She also turns out hearty lunches and afternoon teas, jams and chutneys and looks after the Hume & Hovell merchandise.
The ground has been host to international, interstate and corporate social matches. They have had up to 500 spectators for weekend matches and in 2004 won a tourism award.
The pavilion has a longroom, a cricket gallery with marvellous memorabilia including autographed bats and some very rare, plus some pre-WWI bats of famous players of the era. The collection is one of Victoria’s finest. There is also a bar.
Phil the Groundsman meticulously cultivates and monitors the turf wickets, and also cooks a mean barbecue.
Everyone takes great delight in watching young cricketers develop and learn new skills at coaching camps and squad practice matches.
The Explorers is a group of cricket-loving gentlemen who love nothing better than doing battle with other groups of cricket lovers. It's all played in good fun but with a decent dollop of serious cricket.
There is a delightful B&B with views of the gardens as well as a bunkhouse in the pavilion with enough accommodation for the whole team, or anyone else who wants somewhere comfortable in the area to rest their head. The bunkhouse has two bathrooms and a television guests need to take their own towel and sleeping bag. Take your own food or take advantage of the delicious catering.
Don McQueen has a penchant for reciting bush poetry, particularly anything written by Banjo Patterson. Another favourite you are likely to hear on a visit to Strath Creek, though, was written by Lord Harris, England Captain 1878-79. It sums up the passion.
"You do well to love cricket, because it is more free from anything sordid, anything dishonourable than any game in the world. To play it keenly, generously, self-sacrificingly is a moral lesson in itself, and the classroom is God's air and sunshine. Foster it, my brothers, so that it may attract all who find the time to play it, protect it from anything that will sully it, so that it may grow in favour with all men."
New season’s coaching camps start in mid-September.