Domestic Over-50s Cricket
2018/2019: North Island vs South Island
Two inter-island matches were held in March of 2019. They were originally intended to be fully representative teams, but some late withdrawals compromised the selections slightly. Nevertheless, two enjoyable – albeit weather-affected – matches were held in Nelson. The first game, at Saxton Oval, was reduced to a 20-over-a-side affair. South Island hit 146/2, with Craig Gibb (53), Dave Leonard (31* from 21) and newcomer Kelvin Scott (29* from 15) helping themselves to runs. North Island got 8 overs into their chase before rain ended the game.
In the second match, North Island scored 213/9 (Robbie Laird 41, Mark Gunning 38, Kember 3/36), but Kelvin Scott knocked off the target almost single-handedly with a stunning 99 from 53 balls.
Veterans Cricket New Zealand
Veterans Cricket New Zealand (VCNZ) was established as a charitable trust to coordinate over-50s, over-60s and over-70s cricket in this country. It is officially affiliated with New Zealand cricket, following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2019. The over-50s are an independent arm of VCNZ.
The VCNZ website, which mainly focuses on over-60s cricket, can be found here.
2019/2020: Inter-Provincial Tournament
One of the key issues for the over-50s to address was team selection. Various circumstances had made it impossible to hold trials in the past, but this situation was rectified with the first New Zealand Over-50s Inter-Provincial Tournament (IPT).
The tournament included 4 teams - the Auckland Cavaliers, the Districts Evergreens (the North Island apart from Auckland and Wellington), the Wellington/Tasman Firehawks, and the Canterbury/Otago Mainlanders - and was held in Christchurch in October of 2019.
Each team played each other and the Firehawks emerged victorious, defeating the Mainlanders in an exciting final at Hagley Park. The batting stars were Richard Petrie (204 runs at 102, including a century - see him bring it up here) and newcomers Bert Horner (180 runs at 90) and Dean Read (158 at 52). Auckland’s Rhys Henderson topped the wicket-taking list, with 8 at 11.88, just ahead of Pennefather with 7. The scorecards can be found here. Batting leaderboard. Bowling leaderboard.
At the completion of the tournament, the 16-man New Zealand squad for the 2020 World Cup was announced, featuring 9 changes from the 2018 group. Adrian Dale was named the new captain of the side.
New South Wales Over-50s Tour
New South Wales sent a strong side to Auckland to give the New Zealand squad some pre-World Cup practice. NSW beat Auckland Over-50s by 3 wickets in their first match. Dale weathered an early storm (Auckland were 22/4 after 8 overs) to score a run-a-ball 116, while Dean Busch celebrated a late call-up to the NZ squad with 73 not out. Scorecard.
The second match of the tour saw NSW play NZ and the hosts racked up 314/4 on a good batting pitch and rapid outfield at Papatoetoe CC. Former Otago batsman Andrew Hore scored 92 on his New Zealand debut, and he and Petrie added 148 for the first wicket. Rookies Kelvin Scott (33), John Garry (45*) and Dean Read (40* from 21 balls) were also in the runs. This proved enough, although NSW batsman Steve Mace made the locals work hard, hitting a polished 88 out of 280/9. Petrie took 2/41 from 8 and Scott bowled well for 1/25 from 6. Scorecard.
The last match was another high-scoring effort from New Zealand as they piled on 332. Garry hit an excellent 100 and Read smashed 84 from 48 balls. The tourists couldn’t compete on this occasion – although Mace impressed again, carrying his bat for 71* – and ended up 135 all out. Nuttall (3/16), Askew (3/39) and Scott (2/16 from 7) were the best bowlers. Scorecard.
Here are some brief video highlights of the NSW tour.
The continuation and expansion of the COVID-19 situation meant that international over-50s cricket was not practical, but the relative freedom from issues within New Zealand enabled us to haev a full season of inter-provincial cricket.
The successful 4-team IPT format was continued and all 4 teams prepared in earnest for the Auckland tournament in January. A number of inter-provincial matches were held in November and December of 2020, with no clear favourite emerging.
Adrian Dale broke a number of records during these matches, particularly during one prolific week when he scored 3 successive centuries, including 155 vs Canterbury (in a losing cause). John Garry, Craig Gibb and Scott McHardy also scored centuries during these matches.
Individual stats (including the IPT) are below:
The IPT was an enormous success, played in beautiful sunshine at the scenic Cornwall CC over 5 great days.
Inter-Provincial Tournament, 2020-21
Wellington/Tasman vs Auckland
In a thrilling start to the first round, defending champs Wellington/Tasman bowled Auckland out for 172 (Channa Weeraparuma 57, David Goldingham 4/24) and reached their target with just 1 wicket in hand.
Districts vs Canterbury/Otago
Districts posted a strong 255/8 against Canterbury/Otago (Andrew Spence 62, Chris Jeffries 48 from 15 balls) and the southerners could only reach 211 in response (despite 90 from Andrew Hore) as Adil Somani grabbed 4/26 with his leg spin.
Auckland vs Districts
After rain delayed the start of play, Districts scored 182/8 from 37 overs, with 49 to Garth Littlejohn and 3 wickets to each of the Auckland off-spinners, Mayur Chauhan and Rhys Henderson. Jon Cleland (58) and Adrian Dale (49*) made light work of the chase.
Canterbury/Otago vs Wellington/Tasman
The Firehawks notched up a competitive 204/7 from 36 overs, with Richard Petrie (93 from 79 balls) and Hamish French (85 not out) the only 2 batsmen reaching double figures. The 6-run-per-over chase turned out to be a comfortable one for the Mainlanders, as Andrew Hore again batted well (82), despite 4/29 from Stephen Hewson.
The evenness of the teams was shown by the fact that, after 2 rounds, each team had one win and one loss.
This (like the previous year) meant that the third round of matches were effectively semi-finals. In those matches, Auckland defeated Canterbury/Otago and a (re)surgent Districts side defeated Wellington/Tasman.
Auckland vs Canterbury/Otago
Kelvin Scott (87) and John Garry (61) helped the Mainlanders recover from 38/3 to 233/9 after Dean Askew (3/36) had knocked the top off. Rhys Henderson took the first ever 5-wicket bag in NZ over-50s cricket (5/53).
Adrian Dale (101*) scored his 4th century of the season to chase down the target, with support from Sri Lankan Over-50s rep Weeraparuma (40) and ex-All Black Ofisa Tonu'u (49*).
Wellington/Tasman vs Districts
Mason Robinson marked his first game of the tournament with 104, his first over-50s ton, and, with support from Greg Stretch (52), the Firehawks racked up 266/5. Districts reached the target with 2 overs to spare, Garth Littlejohn (65) and Adil Somani (65*) being the main contributors.
3rd/4th PLAYOFF: Canterbury/Otago vs Wellington/Tasman
The previous year's finalists had to settle for the playoff match this time around. John Garry (113 retired) and Andrew Hore (51) dominated the Mainlanders' huge 295/6, which seemed a winning score. However, Richard Petrie hit an amazing 144 off 89 balls, with 9 sixes, as the Firehawks motored home.
GRAND FINAL: Auckland vs Districts
Districts batted well but never got away from Auckland in their competitive total of 240/6. Somani continued his good form, hitting 69, and Bert Horner added 47. Again, Dale was the key wicket and he scored a run-a-ball 75 before Tonu'u brought the match home with 48 off 41 balls.
Auckland were crowned IPT Champions for 2020/21.
For the second year in a row, Richard Petrie was the leading run-scorer (264, ahead of Adrian Dale (241) and Andrew Hore (223), and Rhys Henderson was again the leading wicket-taker (11, ahead of Petrie (8) and Stephen Hewson and Scott Mason (both 7)).
For the season as a whole, Dale (642 runs at 128.40) was miles ahead of Garry (341) as top run-scorer. Here is the full list. Hewson and Henderson both took 13 wickets to top the wicket-takers charts.
National Regional Tournament (NRT)
Due to increased player numbers, a "second-tier" tournament was arranged for the first time, primarily to give opportunities to keen over-50s players not selected for the IPT. The NRT was held in Wellington, from February 15-19, 2021 and included four teams: Canterbury, Wellington, Districts and Auckland. (Only one Otago player was available, so he joined the Auckland group.)
Canterbury walked away as convincing winners, defeating Districts in the final. They were bolstered by a few IPT players, which helped them reach the final, but they did not use these players to a great degree in that match.
Grant Hall was the standout batsman, scoring 50s in all 3 of his innings, capped by a valiant 94 in the final. He finished with 216 runs at 72. Also scoring 50s in all 3 innigns was Wellington's Martin Pike (183 runs at 61). Canterbury's NZ rep John Garry scored the only century of the tournament, 100*.
One of the bowling stars was expat South African Jamie Kruger, Wellington-based but playing for Auckland. In his first games of over-50s cricket, Kruger took 6 wickets for just 24 runs. Also taking 6 wickets were Kelvin Scott (Canterbury) and Kusal Erigama (Auckland).
North Island vs South Island
At the conclusion of the IPT, teams were named to play in a 2-match series between the North Island and the South Island in Christchurch in late February.
The first game, at the Willows, was a low-scoring encounter. The North only managed 112 (Adrian Dale 44, Scott Mason 4/25) and the South scraped home by 2 wickets (Andrew Hore 40, Neil Ronaldson 5/29). Ronaldson's figures were the best ever in NZ over-50s cricket. Video highlights. Scorecard.
In the second match, at Heathcote CC, SI batted first and stumbled to 113/7 before Mason Robinson's 76* gave them a respectable 221. At 88/3 in reply, it was evenly poised, but Jon Cleland (100*) and Adil Somani (71*) added an unbeaten 134 to lead the North to a comfortable win. Full match video. Video highlights. Scorecard.
In total, 26 official games of over-50s cricket were played in the 2020/21 season. Here are the overall season averages.