Swinging like the sixties

THEY may be a little long in the tooth, but the Gippsland Goannas cricket team still has plenty of bite.

In its second season of Victorian Over 60 Cricket Association, the vintage veterans were victorious in all but one of their 10 matches.

The all-conquering performance has seen several Goannas forge a belated representative career, both domestically and internationally.

Ian Gibson and Alan Evans tackled Tasmania as part of the Victorian over 60s side last week, Graeme Freshwater is off to England as a member of the Australian over 70s, while Peter Dell and Wayne Tatterson are headed to the United States to play later this year.

“It’s a good opportunity to travel around, there’s tournaments everywhere in over 60s,” Goannas secretary Gibson said.

“It’s not necessarily the best cricketers who are going on these tours but fellas who are really keen and it’s fantastic.”

With 18 players on the books at the Goannas, from Inverloch, Briagolong, Warragul and everywhere in between, Gibson said the side’s unprecedented run of success came down to having realistic expectations on their own abilities.

“We all like to be reasonably competitive and play good cricket so even though we’re over 60 we’ve still got that streak of wanting to play as well as we can and win games,” he said.

“They’re all people who aren’t particularly precious about worrying about trying to emulate what they were like 30 years ago.”

The competition, described by Gibson as “A grade cricket slowed down” features a mix of ages and abilities, with some players well into their 70s.

Walking the line between social and competitive cricket, Gibson said the spirit of the game in over 60s was outstanding, citing a recall to the crease by the opposition after being given out incorrectly as an example.

“Everyone’s trying to win the games, but the spirit is fantastic between the clubs,” he said.

“The enthusiasm of over 60s cricket has to be seen to be believed.”

Gibson was one of the stars for the Goannas this year, with 283 runs in eight innings at an average of 141.50 at the top of the order.

He was ably assisted by Freshwater, who compiled 216 runs at 43.20 and claimed 10 wickets at 15.50.

It was the players at the other end of the spectrum, however, that Gibson was most impressed with.

“Two or three barely played when they were young but always wanted to play,” he said.

“They’re just learning the game effectively in their 60s which I reckon is fantastic.”

The Goannas will look to add up to five fixtures to their calendar next season, and are on the lookout for new members.

For more information phone Ian Gibson on 5122 1542.