LOCAL stars Nathan Nistico and Greg Shirley are taking part in an experience of a lifetime, spending the last five months showcasing their cricket talents in England.
The South Augusta A Graders have been playing for Droylsden Cricket Club – based in Tameside, on the outskirts of Manchester – in the Greater Manchester Cricket League.
Nistico said he has always wanted to play a season in England.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves in the different conditions and meet new people to see how they go about their cricket,” he said.
“We jumped online and got in contact with a club who was willing to take on two overseas players and it all started from there.”
Following on from their Port Augusta Cricket Association (PACA) season, which included glory in the Twenty20 competition with the Bulldogs, the pair arrived in Manchester in April.
Droylsden won their first four games to start the season in blistering form, but injuries and inconsistent performances resulted in a slump in form, with the team slipping into mid-table.
With 14 teams in the league, Nistico said the standard of the Manchester competition varies when compared to PACA.
“The top teams in Manchester would be slightly better, but the bottom teams wouldn't be as good, however on the average we feel as though it's a very similar standard,” he said.
When they are not working or playing cricket, Nistico and Shirley have been lucky enough to travel to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in their spare time.
Despite having the chance to see some breathtaking sights, Nistico said the highlight of the trip was undoubtedly when fellow South Augusta cricketer Todd Kernahan visited the pair while travelling through Europe.
Kernahan joined Nistico and Shirley on the cricket pitch for one game, with the trio taking part in a special win for Droylsden.
“Personally for us three we didn't have good games...I didn't take a wicket, Greg got a duck and Todd only made one run,” Nistico said.
“We were bowled out for 130 and the opposition found themselves at 0 for 70, but then our left arm spinner came on and took seven wickets and we ended up bowling them out for 100.
“It was one of the best wins we have been part of, but to also share it with Todd in England made it even more special.”
The Greater Manchester Cricket League season finishes up at the end of September.