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"Build It And They Will Come!"

From dairy farming to the world of cricket….there is no stopping the Tinetti family. They have developed a country cricket venue that is their “field of dreams”.

As they proudly proclaim: “Cricket Willow is the only facility in the world where visitors can witness the fascinating process of cricket bat manufacture from start to finish”.

How did the idea for Cricket Willow occur?
In 1998 willow trees for cricket bats had been growing at Shepherds Flat for almost a hundred years. It was a family decision to create Cricket Willow to tell others of the unique Australian folklore and history of Shepherds Flat. In the space of six months our rocky front paddock was transformed into a picturesque cricket oval, complete with picket fence. The Shepherds Flat General Store was reconstructed to overlook the oval and a bocce court was built as a tribute to our Swiss-Italian heritage.

Tell us about Cricket Willow…..(eg: facilities, cricket bat making, sports teams, corporate events, where people come from to visit etc).

Cricket Willow is the only facility in the world where visitors can witness the fascinating process of bat manufacture from ‘Bud to Bat’. Visitors of all ages travel along the winding road to Cricket Willow to enjoy the facilities and experience the ambience of our special part of the world

Features:

  • Picturesque cricket oval and pavilion
  • Pavilion museum featuring special items and tributes to local identities
  • Billiard hall with an extensive collection of sporting memorabilia
  • Willow nursery and plantation
  • ‘The Cricket Gallery’ showing the traditional process of bat manufacture
  • Bocce, billiards and tennis facilities
  • Training area with bowling machine

Is the whole family involved?
The whole family is involved - we now boast four generations of involvement.

What have been some of the highlights of Cricket Willow?
Welcoming visitors to our special part of the world is a real highlight. Also some special events that we've hosted:

  • Official opening 31.1.99
  • Centenary of bat willows at Shepherds Flat, 2002
  • Opening of The Cricket Gallery, 9.10.05
  • Inaugural Run for the Willow carnival, 19.11.05
  • Grampians Disability Cricket Tournament, April 2006

Any particular challenges?
Our biggest challenge is to stay family orientated in this day and age. We try to make people feel welcome and important and to relay stories to link the past, present and future. The long hours (especially weekends) places restrictions on our life.

Will you ever retire? (Ian & Trish)
One day! Retirement is not on the horizon while we are of value to our family and community through our business.

What do you think are some of the challenges of retirement for people?
To know what you are able to do and how you are able to support the lifestyle you choose.

Advice for people who would like to pursue a lifestyle business?
Motivate each other enjoy what you are doing. Also know your value as a person, try not to give up on your dreams and ideas, and adopt a confident common sense attitude to a lifestyle based on happiness of mind and body.

Comment by Petrus Spronk:
"Cricket Willow proper appears as if in a dream. And it is a dream. The dream of Trish and Ian Tinetti. A dream ‘made come true’. It speaks of a strong will. It speaks of a vision. It speaks of a passion, of believe in an idea. It speaks of an amazing work energy. Cricket Willow is a huge and wonderful project. I recently made a visit and was met by Ian and Trish. The remarkable dream-team. Daring dreamers who have worked hard on their dream until it was a reality.

To do the whole of the story, and history of the development of the tradition and the creation of present day ‘Cricket Willow’ justice, you will need to visit this amazing place yourself. You will find in the cafĂ©/restaurant area a veritable cricket museum with a great variety of cricket history. Enjoy a cuppa and read the texts. Enjoy the numerous pictures. Gaze with admiration at a full compliment of many objects d’cricket. There are also cricket matches to be enjoyed and books with the history available".

Take a look at their world