NSW over-50 vets cricket state championships: Armidale hosts 18-team tournament

BATTLE ROYALE: New England's Hugh Piper at the first over-50 state cricket championships in Port Macquarie this year.
BATTLE ROYALE: New England's Hugh Piper at the first over-50 state cricket championships in Port Macquarie this year.

Armidale will host three cricket state representative carnivals this summer and the first is ready to launch this Friday. 

The NSW over-50 state championships will be conducted over three days with 18 teams making their way to town. 

It is only the second time an over-50 tournament has been held and carnival convener Graeme Anderson said it is a big coup for the region. 

“The first championships was held in Port Macquarie and this is the second championships for over-50s,” he said. 

“We have hosted over-60s before on a couple of occassions but this is the first one for over-50s. 

“This is the biggest carnival we have had, the over-60s we had 12 teams so it is a much bigger carnival this one.”

New England will be represented with a side in each division. 

The local team will feature players from all over the region including Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Uralla, Walcha and the host city. 

Anderson expects the competition to be fierce. 

“I always classify veteran's cricket as a friendly rivalry,” he said. 

“By the time we get to this age we should be playing for the enjoyment rather than so much the win but I can assure you that's not the case once you have crossed the white line. 

“The competition on the field will be keen and the camaraderie off the field will be most enjoyable.”

Port Jackson are the reigning champions from the inaugural event but Anderson hoped the locals can spoil their party. 

“There's a number of players who have represented NSW Country so there's some good quality cricketers in there,” he said. 

“It's quite a strong side so we are hoping for a good result.” 

Not only will Armidale’s sporting strengths be on display, the whole town is set to benefit with more than 200 in town. 

“We welcome the opportunity to hold the championships here,” Anderson said. 

“We hope that everyone enjoys it and has a good time, that's really the main aim of it. 

“It's good for the motel business and we are holding a couple of functions back at the Services Club.”

New England division one will commence their campaign in Guyra against Central Coast while the division two team plays Lithgow-based Western Wildfires at Newling 2. Both games start at 10am.