Age is no Factor – Over 60s National Cricket Tournament

“On a Mish” #249 Over 60s National Cricket Tournament. Hagley Park. 7.2.2021. The older seem to be getting younger. Competitive sport amongst the more senior members of our population is growing, and for some it is a step back in time to their former glory days out on the sporting field. My old man was a keen sportsman in his younger days. Often making representative teams along with his 4 brothers. Then he decided to get married and have kids, and this brought his sporting career to a stop. However, nowadays with the kids no longer needing constant attention, he has stepped back onto the field / court…

Going for evening strolls with the dog has been replaced by training sessions for both cricket and tennis, and by the look of his step counter he isn’t messing around. 5 years ago he was selected in the ‘Over-60s’ Canterbury team, and each year he plays in the national tournament. This has also led to playing in the New Zealand Over 60s team all over the world. Along with a team of dedicated players there is the team’s ‘WAGS’ (wives and girlfriends & me!), and over time the support crew has got to know each other very well. I like to see games as often as possible, as I feel obliged to in return for the countless amounts of times my parents would watch my sports games as a kid. As I have said before, being stuck at home injured has had its good side, with me being available most of the time, and usually if I’m not out in the mountains I’m looking for a boredom buster. Watching games in different parts of the South Island has been great, and the players’ skills and the competitive nature of each game seem to be increasing as time has gone on. Covid prevented any international travel during 2020 (and beyond) and this meant the cancelation of games in both Australia and England. To make up for the lack of game time there was a Otago / Southland vs Canterbury game in Timaru. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces from each team, and to also meet some of the other players. Next was a game in Geraldine on the small town’s very well set up pitch surrounded by trees, with many different places to enjoy the game from. These games were warm ups for the national series which was being held in Christchurch at Hagley Park. Teams from all over the country gathered for a week of cricket and then yarns with a few drinks after each game. The pressure was on the boys from Canterbury, as they have remained undefeated for 5 years. The teams were lucky enough to not only have the use of the many cricketing ovals that are dotted around the park, but also the use of the ground’s number one pitch, which is also Christchurch’s premier cricket field. To stand in the middle of an international cricket venue is a real treat, let alone playing a game there. The tournament was a great success with Canterbury not only winning, but also keeping their unbeaten game record intact.

There were a few injuries like in most national tournaments, but overall everything couldn’t have gone any better. Each day was sunny and perfect for a game of cricket, and the only rain for the week fell on the tournament’s rest day. Hats off to all involved, and hopefully we can get back to international travel soon, as after the tournament the selectors named a New Zealand representative team, and my old man made the cut (as he should, with all the good form shown during his games). There is talk of the Australian over 60s team heading across the ditch to Aotearoa for some games in the near future, so hopefully the world sorts out this COVID crap and the teams can travel between each country ASAP for some more action packed older fella cricket…

Hagley Oval

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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