IT’S a remarkable tale that perfectly sums up the oft-used phrase ‘It’s a small world’.
The Hilliers emigrated from Chichester to Australia 14 years ago – and have recently discovered their son’s opening bowling partner in a junior cricket team is also from a family with roots in the Observer area.
Paul Hillier said: “In 2000, I left my home city, Chichester, to emigrate to Newcastle, Australia. Before that, and since 1985, I had been a regular in the Chichester Priory Park first XI cricket team, winning the Sussex League and cup on many occasions.
“My two sons Nathan, who is 13, and Jack, ten, are avid cricketers here in Australia and both are now opening the bowling for their respective representative teams in Newcastle – a city of some 300,000 people about two hours north of Sydney.
“Nathan has a new opening bowling partner this season, Ned Twelvetree – and we were amazed to find out earlier this season that Ned was born at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester – also my place of birth – and his family lived in Easebourne near Midhurst until he was four, before the family emigrated for his father Tim to join the Royal Australian Air Force.
“So 17,000km away and the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association’s under-13 representative team has two opening bowlers who could both qualify for England and have strong links to Chichester.”
Both families still have links in the Chichester area. Paul added: “My parents live in Selsey and I have a brother in Worthing. All three of us played for and captained Chichester Priory Park first XI.
“I still have many good friends at the club and I regularly look up the Observer sports and news pages.
“Nathan is 6ft tall at 13 and wears size 12 boots and Ned isn’t far behind – they are quite a sight steaming in with the new ball.
“In a recent game against the South East Zone, Nathan dismissed Tom Greig, youngest son of the late Tony Greig, former England and Sussex captain.
“Nat and Ned have just represented Newcastle in a week-long cricket carnival in Ballina NSW, both impressing with eight wickets in their four games.
“They have also both received selection for a combined Newcastle/Central Coast team to play in the State Challenge in inland NSW (Dubbo), pitting their skills against the cream of U13 cricketers across the state, so it’s been some season for them.
“With the World Cup coming up in Australia and New Zealand starting next month and then an Ashes summer in 2015, Ned and Nathan may be a bit confused who to shout for.
“My wife Glenda, Nathan’s mum, is Australian, so he could qualify to play for either country. Nathan’s brother Jack opens the bowling for the under-11 Newcastle rep team.
“The funny thing is my father Nigel was a wicketkeeper batsman, and my brother Tim and I were both batsmen – seeing fast bowling as far too much like hard work!”