In Arthur Yates’ younger years, playing for NSW was something he “never thought” he’d ever do.
Now, at the age of 72, Yates will wear the sky blue for the third year running.
“When I got asked to nominate my name to play I said ‘yes, I’ll have a go’ and this is my third year at it,” Yates said.
“I’ve enjoyed it. You meet a lot of good friends.
“It takes you places.”
Playing veterans cricket has taken Yates all across Australia but he’ll be closer to home this weekend for the State of Origin Series against Queensland.
Yates will be a part of NSW’s Over 70s second side and will be one of many Tamworth cricketers to play at the over 60s and over 70s carnival in Coffs Harbour.
Along with giving Yates the chance to traverse the country, playing vets cricket has also allowed him to take on players he used to watch play for Australia.
One player sticks out in his mind.
“Geoff Dymock. He played for Australia and was a very good bowler,” Yates said.
“He’s playing 70s and he’s still got that bowling action. Not as fast but he still got most of the wickets against us last year.
NSW will be out to reclaim the title from Queensland this year.
Yates rates NSW’s chances highly.
He said Queensland tend to field stronger teams on their home turf.
“There’s a very good chance they reckon we should get up again this year,” Yates said.
Yates not only plays cricket, but also umpires grade in the Tamworth District Cricket Association.
The 72-year-old has been doing so for almost 20 years as a way to give back to the game he loves.
“I played until I was about 35 and then I gave it away for about 20 years,” Yates said.
“Then, a mate of mine asked me to come back because I had nothing to do Saturday afternoons.
“I thought why not and I’ve been doing that for about 18 seasons.”
Yates’ return to the field to play came four years ago when Doug Crowell asked Yates to have a hit.
While the former Police Boys – now Old Boys – player said he enjoyed playing cricket again from the start, there were a few painful mornings.
“My first few months – very sore and stiff,” Yates said.
“Now, you’ve got to exercise before you play. The captain will get you out on the field for three quarters of an hour, give you a fitness test and have a stretch before you go out on the field.”
Yates also played for Attunga in the Manilla competition when he was a youngster before moving to the Police Boys Club where he mainly played third grade.
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