The first official game of cricket for players over the age of 60 was played at Brighton Victoria in 2003. The brainchild of John Hammer, the game featured cricket enthusiasts from north and south of the Yarra River. Success and publicity surrounding the game attracted interest by the Australian Cricket Society and a Victorian Country team leading to the formation of the Victorian Over 60s Cricket Association (VOSCA).
Interest in veterans cricket saw the creation of new clubs Bayside, Essendon, Ringwood and Whitehorse all joining VOSCA. The organisation has continued to grow every year with 24 Over 60s clubs fielding teams on Sundays and mid-week in season 2019-20. Its playing rules are tailored for veteran cricketers with the emphasis 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 tasked with organising annual National Championships.
In 2019, 32 teams from all States and ACT competed in 4 Divisions of Over 60’s and 3 Divisions of Over 70’s cricket. Victoria’s streak of 3 consecutive Championship wins came to an end in 2019 with South Australia taking honours for the first time.
The first dedicated Over 70s Australian Championships held in Adelaide in November 2017 saw Victoria winning the Division 1 Doug Turbill trophy, surrendering the title to Quesnsland in 2018 and 2019. Victoria won the inaugural Division 2 Dutchy Holland trophy following it up with subsequent wins in 2018 and 2019.
Acknowledging the growing interest in veterans cricket, in 2017, 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 just it’s third season, Victoria now fields 40 teams in a domestic Over 50s competition, In March 2018, Victoria entered 5 teams in the inaugural Over 50s Australian Championships in Orange NSW taking home the trophy as the best team in Division 1. Late 2018 saw Australia competing against 7 other Nations winning the inaugural Over 50s World Cup in Sydney.
The Best of the Best from veteran cricketers now have the opportunity to play for Australia, don the Baggy Green and 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.