Affectionately known as ‘geezer’ or ‘the pom,’ Stoke/Nayland has added another weapon to its already formidable arsenal in the form of English bowler Tom Chambers.
The 20-year-old seamer from Weston-super-Mare, in Somerset, has joined the Nelson champions as they chase an unprecedented fourth consecutive title this season.
Tom had a dramatic start to his overseas stint as Stoke and Athletic Old Boys played out and epic tie in round one of the Tasman Premier League.
Batting first, the defending champions posted 262 before ACOB reached the total.
“It was an incredible start,” Tom says.
The result evoked memories of England’s incredible super over win against New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final earlier this year.
“I have been using it to ruffle a few feathers, but everyone’s been in good spirit about it.”
England will be in Nelson in November to play the Black Caps in a T20I.
“I will definitely try get some tickets and time off work,” Tom says. “Hopefully they do the same again.”
Cricket is entrenched in Tom’s family with his grandad a former president of Weston-super-Mare.
“I was always around the club and then at about nine decided to start playing.”
His short career has seen him rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the game.
Tom’s side enjoyed an annual fixture against the Lashings World XI, the ‘Harlem Globetrotters of Cricket.’
He has played against the likes of former English players Simon Jones, Geraint Jones and off-spinner Monty Panesar.
“He got a few beers in him and got very chatty by the end of it, was a good time.”
Tom says, to go from watching those legends on TV to playing with them was amazing.
The fast bowler was brought to Nelson thanks to his connection with Stoke/Nayland’s Patrick Howes who spent time playing with Tom in England.
“I told him ‘if you ever need an extra player to keep me in mind’ and the offer came up this year. Luckily, I was in between work contracts at the time, so it was a perfect opportunity.”
He was given the rundown of Stoke’s incredible run of form in recent years.
“They told me about the various trophies they’ve won so will try and keep that standard and hopefully do the same again this year.”
Tom says he has been received very warmly in the region.
“Nelson is incredible, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, it’s very different to back home.”
During his time in Nelson, Tom will be working at window manufacturing company, Insight.
He says he has no desire to become a professional cricketer.
“I’ve always just played for fun, and it’s managed to bring me out to New Zealand to make friends for life and, hopefully, come back in the future.”