Golden Oldies set to take senior cricket world by storm
New Zealand and Australia will be taking trans-Tasman cricket to a less serious and more social level when some of cricket’s best mature athletes bat it out during the 2018 Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival, held in Christchurch this April.
Leighton Johnston, long-term club cricketer and captain of local Christchurch team, the Halswell Cricket Club, says he’s looking forward to giving the Australians a good run for their money on the cricket pitch.
“Any Australian cricketer is good to beat and we’re looking forward to beating them in the game and in the after-match at the beer tent,” Mr Johnston says.
Mark Fletcher, captain of Brisbane cricket team the Brookfield Brumbies, says the challenge is on.
“We’ve had a few boat races with Kiwi teams before, that’s the good part of the game,” Mr Fletcher says. With 50 years of cricket experience under his belt, Mr Fletcher, 58, is no stranger to Golden Oldies Cricket, with this years’ event marking his fourth attendance to the iconic international event.
He says his team have a secret weapon up their sleeve with former Queensland First Class Cricketer Brett Henschell whose distinguished career includes playing for the Prime Minister’s XI against England in 1986.
“Brett might have a few spins left up his sleeve but really we’re a bunch of old guys having a good time and catching up with mates from all over the world,” Mr Fletcher says.
Cricket week is one of the most popular sporting events of the 5,000 player-strong festival, tipped to attract around 600 local and international players and their supporters.
New Zealand rugby union legend Rod Latham is joining fellow international cricketing veterans Barry Richards, Mike Procter and John Wright as ambassadors for the popular event. Top-tier teams will compete for the sought-after John Wright Trophy while over 60’s teams with battle it out for the Bert Sutcliffe Trophy.
17 Australian and 15 New Zealand teams will be up against squads from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the USA and Zimbabwe as part of the wider Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018, running from 1 to 29 April.
Other local Christchurch teams include the Casino Cowboys, the Ellesmere Mudeels, the Halswell Cricket Club, the Sydenham Cardinals, The Willows and the St Albans BBBB Presidents.
This year marks the first time in history all Golden Oldies sporting events are held in same host city, with major events agency ChristchurchNZ supporting the iconic international sporting event.
General Manager of Attraction, Linda Falwasser, says Christchurch’s strong cricket connection makes our city the perfect place to host the Golden Oldies sports celebration.
“As the stronghold of New Zealand cricket, Christchurch boasts excellent pitches on the magnificent Hagley Park Complex and on district club grounds throughout Christchurch and its surrounds,” she says. “We encourage the whole community to get involved, check out the games and enjoy the experience.”