Over-60s cricket growing

By Zaryd Wilson

Marton's Allan Pond will line up for Central District's over 60s
Marton's Allan Pond will line up for Central District's over 60s

Central Districts will be represented by two locals in an expanded national over-60s cricket tournament in Petone starting this weekend.

Marton's Allan Pond is not only returning to the CD side but is also taking up a role as a selector for the New Zealand team.

He will be joined in the CD side by Wanganui United's Bob Morgan.

The national over-60s tournament was started last year by Wellington Cricket and attracted four of the six New Zealand associations. Canterbury and Otago have joined this year to create a full national tournament.

Senior cricket is big overseas and in New Zealand it is strongest in Auckland and Wellington.

Pond said it was hoped the grade would continue to grow and there was even talk of a World Cup in the future.

"There's probably not a lot of senior people playing cricket in a lot of other areas but Wellington and Auckland are quite strong and they've got grades of cricket for older people," Pond said.

"Senior cricket is very strong in other countries, Australia and England in particular."
Pond plays for the Marton Saracens premier 2 side but said the over-60s tournament provided a different environment.

"It's great," he said. "You're playing with and mixing with people of a similar age.

"I suppose the big difference is you're not facing 130km/h bowling and the fielders aren't as quick. Otherwise it's a good standard."

He said there were likely players around the country who were good enough but weren't aware of the tournament. He hoped that would change.

"New Zealand Cricket are fully behind it so that will help."

From the tournament this weekend a New Zealand team will be selected to play in the Australian over 60s tournament in Canberra later this year.

That competition will pit the New Zealand side against Australian state teams and Pond will likely be part of that team as he was last year.

"Last year's New Zealand team was selected solely on performance at the tournament but they decided this year that they needed the team to be selected," Pond said.

And if he hasn't had enough cricket at nationals Pond is also on the team sheet for Marton at the New Zealand Masters Games to be held in Whanganui next week.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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