The decision to field a Canterbury team for the first time this year in the New Zealand National Over 60s Cricket Tournament paid dividends, with the team taking first place at the event. This in large part was thanks to former first class cricketer and Canterbury opening bowler, Craig Thiele, who put the team together.
The win was well deserved as not only were the team the only one to go through the tournament unbeaten but they also had the highest batting score (made in the final against Northern Districts), the most economical bowler and the equal highest wicket taker of the tournament.
Taking into account the age of the players, the games are 35 overs long with no bowler allowed to bowl more than six overs and batsmen required to retire after having scored 35 runs (although they are allowed to re-enter the game if all the remaining wickets are lost).
Having beaten Auckland, Northern Districts and Otago to make the final, the Cantabs once again met Northern Districts in the match to decide first and second. Batting first after ND won the toss, Canterbury set a formidable target of 205 to chase for the win. With several wickets falling in the first few overs, the outcome become evident early in the game as ND were forced to take risks when chasing such a big target. However thanks to some good bowling and a couple of great catches by Canterbury, Northern Districts were all out for 97 in the 27th over.
Andrew Nuttall showed the form that had earnt him the most economical bowler in the tournament title. Lance Ryan also demonstrated why he tied with Otago’s John Cushen for top tournament wicket taker by taking three wickets in the game. Both Jeremy Wilson and Merv Davies put together a quick 35 runs before being forced to retire under the tournament rules. Hamish Wright was Player of the Day.
At the conclusion of the tournament a squad was picked to play in the Australian Over 60’s Tournament to be held in Canberra in November, with Andrew Nuttall and Michael Mchaffey making the initial team and Jeremy Wilson in the wider training squad. Following their success, the team are keen to return for next year’s tournament to defend their title.