History of Over 60s Cricket in Australia
The first game of over 60's cricket in the world was played at Hurlington Park, Brighton, Victoria in January 2003. In England Veterans cricket for players aged over 50 years has been played in several counties since the mid 1980’s. Over 60's cricket is now played in 14 countries and is predicted to be played in over 20 countries by 2012. The initial development of over 60s cricket in Australia can be attributed to Victorian, Mr John Hammer who with the help of Dr John Beaton, the then President of the A.N.U.Cricket Club, organised the first Over 60s cricket 'carnival,' held at the ANU cricket grounds in Canberra in November 2006. Whilst the inaugural Australian interstate over 60's carnival was very much an adhoc affair, teams from the ACT, Tasmania, NSW and Victoria contested the event with NSW winning the John Hammer Trophy for the first time. From this modest beginning, 9 teams contested the first official National Championship, held in Melbourne in November 2007. As a prelude to the 2008 Championships, also held in Melbourne, an ‘Australian eleven’ was selected to play a ‘test’ against a touring England over 60 team at Hogden-Meckiff Oval in Mentone. Former test opening bowler, Geoff Dymock, captained the Australian team with former test fast bowler, Ian Meckiff tossing the coin to start the game. Former test umpire Max O'Connell and English umpire Mike Rawlings umpired the match.
The Australian team (below) was : Geoff Dymock (Capt), Bob Cotgrove (TAS), Bob Green (TAS), Mike Gallagher (ACT), Ron Axelby (ACT), John Mason (SA)
John Fogarty (NSW),Gordon Ives (NSW), Jim Curtis (SA), Ian Longmuir (VIC), Ian Spencer (VIC),12th men were Max Grimmer (VIC),Ted Gleeson (TAS), Keith Miller (SA) and John Pym (NSW).
The England team was Micky Back (Kent), (Dave Bingley (Yorkshire), Dave Brown (Middlesex), John Butterworth (Yorkshire),Dave Moorhouse (Yorkshire),Colin Croucher (Herts), Adrian Grayson (Yorkshire), Derek Chapman (Yorkshire), Miles Rawlings (Yorkshire), Phil Stavers (Yorkshire), John Stuck (Suffolk), Norman Thurlow (Yorkshire), Dave Todd (Yorkshire), Gerald Webster (Suffolk), Mel Wood (Lancashire), Phil Wood (Yorkshire), John Moore (Yorkshire)
With the rapid growth of Over 60s cricket, a working group was set up to negotiate the affiliation of over 60s cricket with Cricket Australia. It is expected that a formal affiliation will be soon be announced. Following the Canberra Championships held in November 2010, the first Official Australian over 60s team was selected to tour the UK in August 2011 and play a series of games against County over 60 teams as well as 2 ‘test matches’ against the England over 60s team and a ‘test’ against the Welsh National team. Ron Axelby from the ACT was selected to Captain the Australian team. The touring team was sanctioned by Cricket Australia who also provided caps and shirts.
The touring team was : Ron Axelby (Capt, ACT), Denis Axelby (ACT), John Bell (VC, QLD), Colin Cooke (QLD), Ross Chapman (QLD), Rob Agg (VIC), Arthur Pritchard (VIC), Allan Reid (SA), Chris Tobin (SA), Brian Breakspear (NSW), Doug Truman (NSW), Mike Gandy (TAS), Ian Frazer (TAS), Ken Last (TAS). Rob Wilson from Victoria was team Manager. John Bell and Colin Cooke had played first class cricket with the QLD Sheffield team.
In November 2011, an England team played two ‘test matches’ against an Australian Eleven at Manly Oval in Sydney. The first test was a very closely fought match which ended in a tie, a first for over 60's cricket. A ‘test’ match was also played during the rest day at the 2011 Australian Championships held in Armidale. 'Test matches' were also played against the touring England Team in Victoria following the Armidale Championships. Since 2011, Australian over 60s teams have toured the UK in 2012, New Zealand in 2013 and South Africa in 2014. In 2015 the Australian Over 60's team Captained by former Queensland Sheffield Shield opening bowler,Colin Cooke, became the first Australian team to win an 'ashes' series against the England by winning the series 2 -1.
Following the over 60s 'test matches' played in Victoria in 2011, the first ever over 70s 'test match' was played against a touring England team at Rupertswood, Victoria on 28 November 2011, with the Australian Over 70's team winning the first test by 4 wickets. In 2013 the Australian Over 70s team toured the UK and played two 'test matches'.