Our local ‘coasties’ are ready to rip in and compete with a wave of enthusiasm at the NSW Over 60’s State Championships, to be held in Maitland from October 13-18.
The vets cricket program across the country is a burgeoning sporting entity, with State and national events, as well as international matches, being played throughout the summer in the 50s, 60s and 70s age divisions.
A new addition will be a 50s World Cup, with eight teams competing, to be held in Sydney in early December.
The Australian squad will be selected at a smaller Australian championship being held in Brisbane this week, with two teams from each state and territory competing.
During the Easter holidays this year, a number of local coasties played in one of five NSW teams at the first nationals.
A number of those are now driving the participation of more players in local 50s games.
The 60s and 70s programs have been running for some time and a number of locals have represented at state and national level.
No doubt there will be more to come as the increase in interest and awareness sees a plethora of past players donning the creams again.
Last year’s State championship saw MNC make the final against perennial winners, Port Jackson, and compete well and develop a hunger for more.
Leading up to such opportunities though is the main focus, local matches between towns, districts or regions on a casual one-off challenge basis, or in seasonally arranged visits where such organisation is possible.
The MNC squads have been playing annual home and away games with Quirindi, Tamworth, New England and Coffs Harbour for some time.
Those areas, along with Newcastle Taverners, Central Coast Cyclones and Western Wildfires, have developed the game and created much of the interest which has driven the increased participation.
Running into old foe, mates, colleagues and long lost relatives is one of the bonuses, whilst the camaraderie and spirit of the games sees many new mates found as well.
Making such connections is a vital part of the vets sporting movement, whether it be cricket or the broader spectrum of sporting interests for men and women.
In the case of cricket, the matches are often referred to as the men’s shed in the field, and it has become a pivotal part of many families summer activities.
There are even winter comps and events which draws players to sunny QLD, and an ever increasing stream of overseas tours with various organisations to add to some ‘grey nomad’ type traversing of our world.
Next week will see the Sharks from division one and the Dolphins division two cruise down the coast and along the Hunter River to meet old mates, engage the new and contest and enjoy the challenge of surviving four days of cricket in Maitland.
The local chemist shops will have been hit with prep shopping and the Maitland physio’s are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of over 200 cricketers who’ve forgotten their DOB ‘condition’ for a few days!
A number of the squad members played an early season inter-town match against Quirindi recently and had a pleasing and informative win.
As always, the match was played in the best of sporting spirit and with lots of glee as the cobwebs were brushed from gear and performance.
In addition, many have been practicing at Wauchope or wherever they can as they prepare for this competition and the well organised matches already set down across most of the summer.
In the recent match, MNC contained the strong Quirindi batting lineup to 8 for 174 from their 40 overs.
John Corcoran, Ken Ogilvie, Jeff Perkins, Mike Bulmer and Greg Kohler all taking wickets in a fine shared effort, whilst others bowled shorter and tight spells too.
A highlight was the two sensational slips catches taken by Greg Raffin and the motoring around the field of Ogilvie and Bruce Jackson, both forgetting their DOBs very well!
The run chase was ahead of schedule with Jackson (36) in sensational thumping form, racing to retirement at the mandatory 35 with 8 boundaries.
He was ably supported by a number of the batters with McWilliams (15), Bulmer (25), Skipper Dave Relf (16), Everingham (36) and John Corcoran (25).
The Quirindi guys will welcome back a few key players missing from the days event and will be formidable in Maitland.
The Coasties are confident both their squads will be competitive.
They know all will be doing their best to represent their area with a strong current of effort and a salty spice of hunger for success.
That success, in veterans terms, will be mainly based around energy and survival of both the on-field and after match activities.
It will no doubt be a great event for all 60s cricketers from around the state.
The State squads to represent at the Nationals in Penrith in late October will also be announced at the Carnival Dinner, with a number of Coasties hoping for selection.