History of Seniors Cricket

The first game of Over 60s cricket in the world was played at Hurlington Park, Brighton, Victoria in January 2003. In England Veterans cricket for players aged over 50 years has been played in several counties since the mid 1980’s.


Over 60s cricket is now played in 14 countries and is predicted to be played in over 20 countries by 2012. The inaugural Australian interstate over 60s carnival was held in Canberra in November 2006 at the ANU grounds, although this initial carnival was very much an adhoc affair. Teams from the ACT, Tasmania, NSW and Victoria competed. From this modest beginning 9 teams contested the first official National Championship held in Melbourne in November 2007.


As a prelude to the 2008 Championships, also held in Melbourne, an ‘Australian XI’ was selected to play a ‘Test’ against a touring England over 60 team at Hogden-Meckiff Oval in Mentone. Former Test Bowler, Geoff Dymock, captained the Australian team with former Test fast bowler, Ian Meckiff, tossing the coin to start the game. Two ACT players, Ron Axelby and Mike Gallagher played for the Australian team.


Following the Canberra Championships held in November 2010, the first Official Australian Over 60s team was selected to tour the UK in August 2011 and play a series of games against County over 60 teams as well as 2 ‘Test matches’ against the England over 60s team and a ‘Test’ against the Welsh National team. Ron Axelby from the ACT was selected to Captain the Australian team. The touring team was sanctioned by Cricket Australia who also provided caps and shirts.


The touring team was: Ron Axelby (Capt, ACT), Denis Axelby (ACT), John Bell (VC, QLD), Colin Cooke (QLD), Ross Chapman (QLD), Rob Agg (VIC), Arthur Pritchard (VIC), Allan Reid (SA), Chris Tobin (SA), Brian Breakspear (NSW), Doug Truman (NSW), Mike Gandy (TAS), Ian Frazer (TAS), and Ken Last (TAS). Rob Wilson from Victoria was team Manager. John Bell and Colin Cooke had played first class cricket with the QLD Sheffield team.


In November 2011, an England Over 60s team played two ‘Test matches’ against an Australian Eleven at Manly Oval in Sydney. The Australian team included ACT players, Ron Axelby (Capt), Denis Axelby, Tony Paterson, Peter Howes and Mike Gallagher. The first ‘Test’ was a very closely fought match which ended in a tie, a first for over 60s cricket. A ‘Test’ match was also played during the rest day at the Australian Championships in Armidale. Ron Axelby and Neil Bulger were selected in Australian team which lost a very close and hard fought match. Neil Bulger was named man of the match. In July 2012 an Australian Over 60s team toured the UK and played a series of matches against County teams and 4 Test matches. The Australian team included Tony Paterson and Paul Cullen from the ACT over 60s.


In Feb 2013 an Australian team toured New Zealand in an effort to promote Over 60s cricket in that Country, ACT players, Denis Axelby, Tony Paterson and Peter Howes were selected in the Australian Team. In Feb 2014 an Australian team undertook a promotional tour of South Africa. Denis Axelby and Paul Cullen were members of the Australia team.


In June 2015, an Australian Over 60s team returned to the UK to play 14 Games against English County teams, a ‘Test against Wales and a 3 Test series against the English Over 60s team. Three ACT players were selected in the Australia team, Murray Harrison (Vice Capt), Jim Martin and John Dedman. The team won the series 2-1 to become the first Australian Over 60s team to beat the English team in a Test match after 10 previous attempts.


Seniors Cricket Australia


With the rapid growth of Over 60s and Over 70s cricket in Australia, a working group was set up to negotiate the affiliation of over 60s cricket with Cricket Australia. Following the 2013 Championships in QLD it was agreed the National Working Group be renamed ‘Seniors Cricket Australia’ (SCA) to better administer Seniors cricket in Australia as well as provide a link to Cricket Australia to formally adopt a MOU as a precursor to a formal affiliation with Cricket Australia. At its 2014 Board meeting in Melbourne, ACT’s Ron Axelby, was elected National President of Seniors Cricket Australia.


Over 60s Cricket in the ACT


Over 60s cricket has been played in Canberra (ACT) since 2006. As a foundation member, the ACT has competed at every Australian Over 60s Cricket Championship since the inaugural official Championship was held in Melbourne in 2007. In 2010 the Championships were held in Canberra with the ACT team finishing second in the Division one competition.


As a result of this and the increased publicity, the ACT has been able to field two teams since the 2010 Championships. ACT Over 60s cricket is an affiliate of Cricket ACT which provides administrative and financial support. In 2014 Cricket ACT agreed that the ACT Over 60s teams would be known as the ‘GALAXIES’ in line with the cosmic names used by other ACT Representative teams. With the promotion of the Over 60s concept in the surrounding areas, participation levels have increased markedly over the past 2-3 years.


Regular matches are now played against teams from the Southern Highlands, Goulburn, Keira, Bega, Cooma and Sydney team, Lindfield. This regular competition and by training throughout the winter months, has resulted in the ACT Division 1 team being very competitive against the much larger States.


Overseas Tour


In June 2014 a combined ACT/NSW Over 60s team toured the UK to play a series of matches against County Over 50s and Over 60s teams. The team performed very well winning 11 out of the 15 games played. John Dedman was again in the runs scoring 355 runs at an average of 88.8.


Australian Champions


In 2012, the ACT Division 1 team won the Australian Championships held in Adelaide by beating the strong NSW, QLD and Tasmanian teams. This was only the 4th time in the history of ACT cricket that an ACT Representative team has won a National Championship.


The ACT team was Ron Axelby (Capt), Denis Axelby, Peter Nelson, Neil Bulger, Vince Bulger, Wal Hall, Ian Howe, Mike Gallagher, Paul Cullen, Tony Paterson, Brian Read, Jim Martin, Peter Howes.


Whilst the ACT teams have not matched their Adelaide performance since then, the Division 1 team did create history by setting two Championship records in Melbourne in 2014. The ACT Division 1 team scored the highest score ever recorded at an Australian Championship by scoring a massive 8 for 315 off 45 overs against Western Australia. Also the ACT’s John Dedman recorded the first ever century by belting 116 off 59 balls.