ONE of the great cricket success stories in recent years has been a huge growth in the number of people playing for senior representative teams – and nowhere is this more true than in Gloucestershire.
The county will this summer once again be fielding seven sides – three in both the over-50 and over-60 categories along with an over-70 team – who are preparing to play a combined total of more than 80 fixtures!
The season will soon get underway with a mixed age-group clash against old friends the Gloucestershire Gipsies at Stowell Park on April 20.
It’s then virtually non-stop action right through to the end of August with all seven sides chasing success in their respective divisions as well as the hope for those who do really well of selection for England.
Razi Ahmed, of Golden Hill, will this season captain Gloucestershire Over-50s’ first XI (main image) for the second summer.
He said: “I began playing seniors cricket seven years ago and I’m now 58 … and in that time it’s grown a lot. Not even Covid could stop us!
“We now have a membership of around 130 covering all three age groups with more people wanting to play all the time. It means we have a lot of selection dilemmas! Last year we introduced a meritocratic selection process, online registrations and now we are focussed on enhancing our communication. Our aspiration is to become one of the best seniors set-up in the country.”
Gloucestershire have enjoyed some success in recent summers, including the 50s second XI becoming Southern Counties champions in 2021 with other teams regularly reaching the national knock out stages in their respective divisions.
But Razi believes ‘word-of-mouth’ is the main reason behind the increase in the number of cricketers wanting to play on in the autumn of their careers. In addition, they have built credibility through their recent wins and created potential opportunities for the best to represent the country at this age.
He added: “It’s good fun and people enjoy themselves, that’s very important. We also play on some lovely grounds around the country against like mind-minded people … the cricket is very competitive but it’s also very social as soon as the games are over.
“And people are extremely proud of being able to represent Gloucestershire at this stage of their lives.”
A select few also go on to play internationally with Gloucestershire producing England representatives in all three age groups in recent seasons.
Twyford House all-rounder Richard Trotman has just returned from South Africa where he helped England win the Over 50 World Cup for the first time while Frocester chairman John Evans was a member of the England Over 70 touring party that won the ‘Grey Ashes’ earlier this year in Australia.
Ed Gordon Lennox, from Tarbarrow CC, was a member of the England squad that before Christmas won the Over 60s Carib Cup while Keynsham’s John Courtney has also represented the 60s.
Razi said: “We’re always happy to hear from more people who are interested in playing seniors cricket. It strengthens the quality of our squads and it’s a great way to stay fit and to keep playing as long as possible.”
O50s first XI: Razi Ahmed, Golden Hill CC
O50s second XI: Mark Febery, Cheltenham Civil Services CC
O50s third XI: Rab Gaffney, Haresfield Gladiators CC
O60s first XI: Nick Marment, Painswick CC
O60s second XI: Steve Pennington, OBW CC
O60s third XI: Bill Church, Slimbridge CC
O70s: Roger Beese, Eastington CC
For more information, visit: https://www.glosseniorscc.co.uk