Here you can find out about the countries that play Over-50s Cricket. For each country, you'll see links, stats, history, details about local competitions, star players, and more.
Record: Played 15, won 11, lost 4
Australia are the World Cup Champions, having hosted and won the first ever Over-50s Cricket World Cup in late 2018.
Veterans cricket, which includes over-40s, over-50s and over-60s - and even over-70s - has a long history in Australia (see here for more). The first ever official over-60s match was played in Victoria in 2003 and the concept quickly took hold. Over-50s is a more recent phenomenon, but has now equalled, if not surpassed, the popularity of the over-60s. Most states now hold inter-club and inter-regional tournaments (or "carnivals" as they are called there), and state representative teams are then selected to attend national inter-state carnivals. These are keenly contested events, with no prisoners taken in traditional Australian style.
The first national over-50s side to be assembled was the Australian Over-50s side that undertook an extensive and gruelling 19-match tour of the UK in July and August of 2017. In a format reminiscent of the long international tours of the past, the Aussie Over-50s played 16 matches against county sides and three internationals: one against Wales and two against England. The first of these, against Wales at Newport, is recognised as the first ever Over-50s International (O50I). The team was captained by Queensland's Paul Stenhouse and managed/organised by Stirling Hamman. Although the Australians lost all three O50Is, they had blazed a trail for others to follow and Hamman took the opportunity to lay the groundwork for an Over-50s World Cup - which became a reality just 15 months later.
Australia toured New Zealand in February of 2018, thereby creating an ANZAC link at over-50s level. That series was tied 1-1, with one rain-out. Australia also played England twice at the completion of the O50s World Cup, for the "Platinum Ashes". See the "Other Over-50s Matches" page for details of those matches.
The dominant batsman in Australia - and indeed the world - is Peter Solway. Solway missed out on selection for the 2017 UK tour, but was chosen to tour New Zealand in February of 2018. He scored 66 on debut out of 151 in a low-scoring victory for the Aussies. In the second match he again top-scored, albeit with only 24, in a losing cause. However, it was the 2018 O50s World Cup where Solway made his mark. He started with 40* against Canada and 83* against New Zealand, both times anchoring his team's pursuits. His piece de resistance was a record 151* against Sri Lanka, off only 130 balls. In the crunch semi-final he continued his love affair with New Zealand bowling, hitting 88. In total, he has scored 459 runs in O50Is at the Bradmanesque average of 91.80.
Record: Played 14, won 9, lost 5 (as of September 30, 2019)
As with most things related to cricket, England has the longest history of over-50s cricket. Back in the days of Wilfred Rhodes and WG Grace, of course, it was not uncommon for cricketers to continue playing professionally - even internationally - into their 50s. The ECB's 50+ County Championship has been going for around 30 years and has become increasingly extensive since Sussex won the inaugural competition.
These days, the ECB 50+ County Championship is a significant event, with matches played throughout the season, culminating in semis and finals. In the 2019 final, Essex defeated Yorkshire, ended the northerners' two-year grip on the title. Babar Butt (who represented Pakistan at the 2018 World Cup) scored 102 for Yorkshire, but 100 from Neil Burns and 64 from Giles Ecclestone saw Essex chase down their target.
In the 2018 final, Stephen Foster was man of the match for his 66* and 3/17 ... a portent of things to come at the World Cup shortly thereafter. Here is a report from that match.
The competition has a website with detailed statistics and scorecards from all matches. You can find it here.
When the Australian Over-50s came touring in the summer of 2017, Australian Manager Stirling Hamman met Peter Rider and the two men had some of the early discussions about the concept of a World Cup. This became a reality about 15 months later and England sent a strong side, with high hopes of winning the title. They cruised into the semi-finals but came across an excellent Pakistan side that was too strong.
Following the brutal World Cup schedule, the tired Englishmen played two further matches against a reinforced Australian side, but lost these two as well.
Some matches in the English Over-50s Championship are videoed and the highlights will be shown here, in due course.
Winners of the ECB Over-50s Championships
2019 - Essex
2018 - Yorkshire 2007 - Kent 1996 - Staffordshire
2017 - Yorkshire 2006 - Yorkshire 1994 - Worcestershire
2016 - Leics 2005 - Kent 1993 - Lancashire
2015 - Yorkshire 2004 - Surrey 1992 - Derbyshire
2014 - Durham 2003 - Kent 1991 - Kent
2013 - Durham 2002 - Devon 1990 - Wales
2012 - Derbyshire 2001 - Kent 1989 - Kent
2011 - Derbyshire 2000 - Lancashire 1988 - Devon
2010 - Middlesex 1999 - Wales 1987 - Berkshire
2009 - Derbyshire 1998 - Yorkshire 1986 - Essex
2008 - Oxfordshire 1997 - Middlesex 1985 - Lancashire
1984 - Sussex
If you were picking an All-Star Over-50s XI, probably the first name on the list would be Stephen Foster from England.
Foster made his international debut against Sri Lanka during the World Cup and marked it with an outstanding double of 6/17 and 43*. He would go on to take another 6-wicket bag, against New Zealand, and score over 200 runs. Including the post-World Cup "Platinum Ashes" matches, Foster finished his Australian tour with the scarcely believable career figures of 22 wickets (7 more than his nearest challenger) at 8.73 and 285 runs at 47.50.
Record: Played 8, won 7, lost 1
The Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Some of the figures associated with veterans cricket in Pakistan are amazing: there are more than 120 teams of over-40s cricketers in Pakistan, across more than 70 towns and cities! The PVCA works closely with the Pakistan Cricket Board, which also endorses it.
When the World Cup organisers initially started looking for sub-continent sides to compete in the tournament, they discovered the PVCA website and contacted its head, Fawad Khan. Fawad was enthusiastic about being involved and set about assembling a formidable side. Virtually all of the 16 players in the Pakistan squad had played first-class cricket, and several had also played international cricket. And these were not just guys who had fluked their way into a provincial side, they were long-term players with very impressive records.
Included in the 20-year history of the PVCA were overseas tours by over-50s sides. However, because the ages of players on both sides were not verifiably 50-plus, these matches can't be considered true O50Is. Among these was a tournament in Sri Lanka involving a PVCA side, a side from England that included several members of that country's World Cup squad, and a couple of host sides that may have misunderstood the meaning of "over-50s" by selecting some players in their 30s.
At the World Cup, Pakistan were - along with Australia - the dominant side and it seemed inevitable that the two sides would meet in the Grand Final. Indeed they did and it was a classic contest, which you can read about here. The Pakistan side were gracious in defeat and reinforced their intention to participate again in Cape Town in 2020.
Veterans cricket was struck a tragic blow in November of 2019 with the untimely death of Ashiq Qureshi. Ashiq had been the manager of the Pakistan side at the 2018 World Cup and had enjoyed an illustrious career as an athlete, diplomat and administrator. He was universally loved and admired and did more for veterans cricket than just about anyone in the world. He will be sadly missed. Here is an obituary from CricketWorld.
Sajjid Ali entered the World Cup with a fearsome reputation. He was a big hitter from an era before T20 and, at one stage, had the 4th highest List-A score in history. He started the tournament with 4 boundaries in his first 14 balls, against New Zealand, on his way to a score of 36.
He promised a lot in his subsequent innings, getting bright starts but only passing 50 once, against South Africa. However, when it really mattered - in the semi-final - Sajjid came right, smashing a match-winning 102 when his side were 6/2.
Record: Played 9, won 4, lost 5
New Zealand over-50s cricket began during a social cricket tour to the West Indies. While driving back from a match in St. Lucia, Stirling Hamman and Jim Morrison began discussing the idea of an Over-50s World Cup. The Australian side of things would be fine, given that country's well-established veterans cricket scene, but nothing of the type existed in New Zealand. Morrison, a Kiwi, agreed to try and put a New Zealand side together. Gradually, through word of mouth and emails to every club in the country, he assembled a few nominations and the first NZO50s team ran onto the field against the touring Aussies in February of 2018.
Later that year, a competitive and skillful New Zealand side reached the semi-final of the World Cup, losing to Australia in a thrilling match.
New Zealand's first Inter-Provincial Tournament was held successfully in October of 2019, with Wellington/Tasman defeating Canterbury/Otago in the final. It is hoped that this will become an annual event.
The New Zealand team's Facebook page is updated regularly.
Mason Robinson's nuggety batting, sharp 'keeping and enthusiasm have made him an essential part of the New Zealand lineup. He nearly single-handedly won NZ's first ever game, against Australia, with 3 stumpings, a catch, and 59 in a low-scoring encounter in his home town of Nelson.
At the World Cup, Robinson scored 75 off 78 balls against Pakistan - again nearly pulling off a miraculous chase - 61 (63 balls) vs. Wales, 32 vs. England, 66 (67 balls) vs. South Africa, and 34 against Australia. He was the 3rd-highest run scorer in the WC, effected the most dismissals in the tournament and won two Spirit of Cricket awards.
Record: Played 7, won 3, lost 4
Sri Lanka is another country that is relatively new to over-50s cricket. While it hosted (and won) an unofficial over-50s tournament in 2016 that included teams from Pakistan and England, several members of its own winning side were under 50.
The Sri Lankan team that competed in the Sydney Over-50s World Cup was comprised mainly of Australian-based Sri Lankans, several of whom play in the Lanka Lions side in the Classics (over-50s) league in Sydney. They also had the services of players like Marlon Von Hagt, a former international player.
The creation of a Masters league in Sri Lanka and the establishment of masters cricket associations there led to the Sri Lankan 2020 WC team being more representative of the island nation. The Colombo Masters Cricket Association recently hosted an over-50s tournament with strong teams from around the country.
Having said that, the team that competed at the World Cup was more than competitive. They won three matches and had their crucial game against New Zealand rained out, which helped the Kiwis scrape through to the semi-finals on bonus points. Sri Lanka then ran into a resurgent Canadian side and missed out on a chance to play in the Plate Final.
The Sri Lankan World Cup Facebook page has lots of photos from its team's matches.
Roshan Ismail was Sri Lanka's top bowler at the World Cup, collecting 12 wickets (4th out of all bowlers at the tournament) at an average of 14.67.
His best figures came in the match against Canada, when he took 4/22 in a winning cause. He followed this up with 2/33 against Pakistan, 3/24 against South Africa (including the only hat-trick in O50I history) and 2/37 against Australia.
With the bat, Ismail gave Sri Lanka a chance in its Plate Semi-Final, hitting 35 against Canada. He was also selected in the World Cup Tournament Team.
Record: Played 8, won 2, lost 6
The Canadian side for the Sydney World Cup evolved from the Canadian Seniors Cricket Association, a group of ex-pat Pakistanis that had undertaken tours to Pakistan but didn't have a lot of ethnic diversity. When they were invited to send a side to the World Cup, the CSCA looked to involve players from all parts of the Canadian cricketing landscape. They ended up bringing players with Sri Lankan, Guyanese, Trinidadian, Indian, and Pakistani descent - a real melting pot of cricketing styles and cultures. The management team approached the World Cup with remarkable enthusiasm, holding press conferences, televised interviews with players, farewell dinners, and live streaming of trial matches.
Despite some bullish predictions, the Canadians struggled on the field initially, losing all six of their round-robin games. They did come close on some occasions, notably against Sri Lanka (losing by 16 runs) and New Zealand (14 runs) and knew they could compete. They turned things around remarkably thereafter, beating South Africa and Sri Lanka to end up winning the Plate and finishing 5th overall.
Following the Sydney World Cup, there was an internal schism within the group, which led to the formation of the Cricket Canada Masters Council - now backed by Cricket Canada. The CCMC will represent Canada at the 2020 World Cup. Their Facebook page can be found here.
Mahmood Ahmed came into the World Cup with a reputation of being more of a batsman than a bowler, but it was his quickish off-spin that brought him success - including being named in the Tournament Team.
He took 1/19 off 9 overs against Sri Lanka in his first game, then took some punishment at the hands of Adrian Dale against New Zealand, going for 46 off his 9. In the next game, against England, he bowled extremely well and was rewarded with 3/18 (as well as 34 with the bat). He then snagged 8 wickets in his next 4 games, including 3/15 against Wales and a very handy 2/23 against South Africa in the Plate Final
Record: Played 8, won 1, lost 7
South Africa had to overcome a number of challenges just to make it to the 2018 World Cup. There was no over-50s structure in the country, which made it difficult to find players. Finance was a struggle, given the weak state of the rand. Bureaucracy also played a part, with Cricket South Africa setting some hurdles for the team to overcome. What the team did have was a great organiser in Roger Moult, some enthusiastic cricketers - most of whom had played high-level cricket in the past - and a common cause: the Save the Rhino charity.
The SA team, known as the "Rhinos", were bullish ahead of the World Cup, feeling that their players' pedigree would take them far. However, fitness probably proved their weakest link, as they struggled against cricketers who were playing regularly. Things started to go wrong in the very first game, when Wales tipped the Rhinos over by 3 runs in a thrilling game, despite 93 from Brad Bing.
Batting was a an issue in the games that followed, with the team scoring ever-lower scores of 147 vs. England, 129/8 against Pakistan, 118 against Australia and hitting rock bottom with 81 against Sri Lanka. South Africa finished the group stage winless and struggling badly with injuries and fatigue, but managed to pick themselves up for the Plate semi final. They chased Wales' 157 down with 5 wickets to spare, exacting some revenge from the round 1 game. However, the batting woes returned in the Plate Final as they were skittled for 128 by Canada.
Roger Moult generously offered to host the 2020 World Cup in Cape Town and there is no question that the South African side will be much stronger at that tournament. They will have wider pool of players to choose from - largely due to the new Evergreen Lifestyle Veterans T20 League that is being set up - and the important home advantage.
In a team whose average score was only 147, it is perhaps unsurprising that the "Key Player" is a bowler. Rhiaan van der Rheede didn't have a first-class career, unlike many of his team-mates, but he spearheaded the side's bowling attack to the tune of 10 wickets at an average of 19.67.
Rhiaan wasn't the quickest bowler in the tournament and didn't set any matches alight - his best figures were 2/23 - but he was a reliable opening bowler who got enough movement to chip batsmen out (he took 2 wickets on 4 separate occasions), and was economical (3.86 runs per over) throughout the tournament. His consistency was rewarded when he as named in the tournament team at the Closing Ceremony.
Coming soon - South Africa and Wales
Four new teams have entered the 2020 World Cup, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa. They are:
Details on these new teams will be provided after the World Cup.
Record: Played 11, won 3, lost 8 (as of September 30, 2019)
The inclusion of Wales in the 2018 World Cup may have surprised some people - Wales does not have its own national team at open-age-group level (its top players represent England) and is not often at the forefront of global cricket news. When it comes to passion and enthusiasm, however, few teams can outdo the Welsh.
Wales played Australia in the first ever Over-50s International, in July of 2017 and beat them. This result caught the eye of Stirling Hamman, then the manager of the Australian side, so he invited them to Sydney for the World Cup.
The decision was an inspired one, as Wales upset South Africa in the first round, by 3 runs. They almost beat Sri Lanka (losing by just 2 wickets) and then hammered Canada by 6 wickets to finish with two wins and four losses after the round-robin stage. Unfortunately for the Welsh, they couldn't keep their momentum going and lost to South Africa in the Plate semi-final.
Wales plays a lot of over-50s (and over-60s) cricket, participating in the English over-50s league (which now boasts over 1000 players). The Welsh compete against other counties in their area and, while it rarely progresses to the final stages of the national tournament, the Welsh have shown that they can crank it up for the big stage.
Steve Maddock scored 199 runs at 39.80, and also took 7 wickets at 25.43, which was enough to get him selected in the Tournament Team.
Maddock's best all-round game came in Wales' Round 1 win against South Africa. He top-scored with 59 to help the Welsh rack up 208/5. South Africa looked to be cruising at 174/4, before Maddock took 4/50 as the South Africans could only manage 205/8.
In his earlier days, Maddock had played for Glamorgan 2nd XI.