Cricket is pretty much part of every Australian’s upbringing. You are exposed to the sport through backyard cricket or in the park. My father also played a bit of local stuff and I would go and watch him. I began to get really interested in the game and was fortunate to have a natural talent for it.
When I was 18, I travelled to the UK so that I could play all year round. I would play State Cricket in the [Australian] summer and then in the UK for its summer. I did this for 12 years. My first club in the UK was Gateshead Fell – it took a while to get used to the Geordie dialect!
I feel very privileged to have had a professional career that lasted 17 years, playing first-class cricket in Australia and the UK. It was a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But as every professional sportsperson says, you have to do it to get to the top.
The highlight for any Australian cricketer is getting to put on the Baggy Green. It’s the playing cap you get for representing your country. I was 29 so I was quite a mature, seasoned professional at that point. I thought the opportunity to play for my country had slipped by. It was the proudest moment in my career. To represent your country at the highest level – Test Match cricket – is something very special.
I played all over the UK in my career but I’ve always felt an affinity with the North East. It is where I met my wife; she’s a Low Fell girl.
When I retired from first-class cricket I didn’t want to retire from the game completely. I signed for South Northumberland Cricket Club in May 2014 as a player, consultant and an ambassador for the club. It has the sort of record that no other club in the country can match and has great facilities, especially for young players.
I’ve always had a keen interest in the administration side of cricket and how sport and business can work together. I feel very privileged to become the CEO of South Northumberland Cricket Club and my aim is to continue its growth, especially with the youth programmes, as well as building stronger links with the local community.
I’m lucky that South Northumberland Cricket Club is supported by a lot of big names from the region’s business community. I can ask them for advice.
I set up Marcus North Wines and the e-commerce site [ www.theaustralianwinestore.co.uk] in January 2015. It was my former coach, Tom Moody, who got me into wine. He’s very knowledgeable about wines and taught me all about the different types. I was fascinated.
Every day I played professional cricket, I got up and wanted to get better, to be successful and the best player I could be. In business, I want to do things that I’m passionate about so that I can have those same feelings and drive to succeed.
Marcus North played 21 Test Matches and two One Day Internationals for Australia. He was appointed CEO of South Northumberland CC in October 2015. Marcus established Marcus North Wines Ltd in January 2015 and has become the wine correspondent for North East Times.