OVERWHELMING RESPONSE: Queensland Veterans Cricket vice-president and Gold Coaster Rod Rice goes for a big hit, which is exactly what the sport has become.
OVERWHELMING RESPONSE: Queensland Veterans Cricket vice-president and Gold Coaster Rod Rice goes for a big hit, which is exactly what the sport has become.

Popularity of veterans cricket hits sport for six

IS there life after cricket?

A lot of die-hard fans are finding there is, and it's called Veterans Cricket.

Queensland Veterans Cricket vice-president Rod Rice said the sport was growing at an unbelievable rate despite only being in its infancy here, having started with an over-60s challenge in 2008.

Just 10 years later, there's a growing calendar of events across three age-groups and two divisions - over-50s, over-60s and over-70s - not just in Queensland but around the country and the world.

There's now about 400 players across 31 teams in South-East Queensland alone, including Gold Coast, Redlands/ Logan, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, Toowoomba, Ipswich and Lockyer Valley.

The first over-50s World Cup, featuring eight countries, was just completed in Sydney, with over-60s and over-70s titles played earlier in Penrith and the Sunshine Coast respectively, an over-70s team recently touring England and an over-60s team heading to New Zealand in April next year.

So what's the attraction?

"I'd liken it to the Men's Sheds - it's a social outing for like-minded people," Rod said.

"People still love their cricket and want to be involved in some way.

"Here they get to play and talk cricket, sometimes with people they played 20-30 years ago."

Among famous faces in the fraternity are former Queensland opener Mark Gaskell, 62, and Aussie Test bowler (1974-1980) Geoff Dymock, 73, who was famously only the third player ever to dismiss all 11 opposition players in a Test match.

But you don't have to have been that calibre to be involved, with some participants not having played for decades due to family and/or work commitments, but keen to see what their skills are.

Rod played for about 20 years for Beenleigh-Logan, and has been coaching Junior representative cricket, but became involved in Veterans Cricket seven years ago after hearing former Gympie schoolboy cricket mate (circa 1967), Kerry Emery, on the radio.

Kerry, from the Sunshine Coast, is now president of Veterans Cricket Australia and a big believer in the importance of promoting sport and exercise throughout life, especially as we live longer.

"I've got two replacement knees and that hinders me a little," Rod admitted.

"We've got a lot of people with knee and shoulder replacements - probably about 80% have some ailment.

"It's very different as a veteran in the field, because you can't run like you used to or throw hard from the boundary, but it's still competitive.

"If you want to do something social that you've always loved, meet old friends and make new ones, it's ideal."

Rod is currently organising a mixed team of predominantly over-60s to tour from Brisbane to Cairns next May, playing Country sides including Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Townsville and Mackay to help get the sport more established in rural areas, as well as playing in a Great Barrier Reef Masters in Cairns.

Membership is just $50 per year, with match fees paid on the day.

If you are interested in finding out more, contact Rod on 0409287931 or go to qvcricket.co.


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