In 2003, cricketers from north and south of the Yarra River played the world’s first game of cricket for players over the age of 60 at Brighton Victoria. John Hammer organised the games with fellow cricket enthusiasts in Melbourne, country Victoria and the Australian Cricket Society leading to the formation of the Victorian Over 60s Cricket Association (VOSCA).
Growing interest in veterans cricket saw the creation of new clubs Bayside, Essendon, Ringwood and Whitehorse with all joining VOSCA. The organisation has grown every year with 24 O60s teams now playing on Sundays and mid-week in 2018-19. Playing rules are tailored for veteran cricketers and the emphasis is on participation, fellowship and staying fit and healthy rather than a winning at all costs attitude.
Victorian success proved to be the springboard for interest in veterans cricket around Australia. In 2006, John Hammer and Dr John Beaton organised the first Over 60s national championship in Canberra with 4 States competing. Success led to the creation of Seniors Cricket Australia that was tasked with organising annual National Championships.
In 2016, 42 teams from all States and ACT competed in 4 Divisions of Over 60’s and 2 Divisions of Over 70’s cricket with Victoria winning the John Hammer Cup for the 5th time. The first dedicated Australian Championships for Over 70s were held in Adelaide in November 2017 with Victoria taking home the Division 1 Doug Turbill trophy. Victoria won the inaugural Division 2 Dutchy Holland trophy backing it up with second win in 2018. Victoria dominance at Championships has continued at the 2018 Championships with its O60s team winning the title for the third year in a row.
In 2017 – acknowledging the growing interest in veterans cricket – Cricket Australia asked Seniors Cricket Australia to extend its reach to manage the game for cricketers over the age of 50 years. Agreement saw the creation of a new body – Veterans Cricket Australia (VCA) – with each State changing their name to reflect the new organisational structure.
In March 2018, Victoria fielded 5 teams at the inaugural O50s Australian Championships in Orange NSW winning the trophy as the best team in Division 1. In just it’s second year, Victoria is fielding 40 teams in an O50s competition. Late 2018 saw Australia competing against 7 other Nations and win the inaugural O50s World Cup.
The Best of the Best from around Australia now have the opportunity to play for Australia, don the Baggy Green and even be part of an Ashes tour. Since 2011 Australian O60s and O70s teams have competed against England in a series of ODI’s at home and overseas in the Battle for the Grey and Silver Ashes. For others, there’s the chance to tour twice a year to all parts of the cricketing world.