Highlands Veterans Over 60s cricketers completed their most successful season ever with recent wins over Western Widfires and Central Coast Cyclones that saw them remain undefeated in home and away games in 2018/19.
The Over 60s had victories over Port Jackson, Central Coast and Western Wildfires both home and away and beat ACT on three occasions.
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For the first time ever Highlands also entered the NSW Over 60s carnival held in Maitland in October and defeated Newcastle, Tamworth and Port Jackson before losing to Penrith in a rain-affected final.
In the most recent match, at the lovely Chater Oval, Highlands easily defeated the Cyclones by five wickets.
Central Coast had first use of the crease on a very good wicket prepared by Rod Watling in the absence of regular curator, Rod van Beek.
They made slow progress early on due to tight bowling by left-armers John Morris and David Wells.
Openers John Fogarty (14) and Gary Traill (29) retired after 15 overs with the score on 44 with Allan Drummond, Rod Watling and Ray Sharman all limiting scoring opportunities.
At the twenty over mid-innings point the visitors had just 57 on the board.
Highlands openers Peter Jensen and Norm Stanton also made a cautious start before Stanton played on for 12 with the score on 19.
Jensen was joined by Ian BRadburn and these again proved a pleasure to watch when they get on top of an attack, running well between wickets and punishing anything loose.
Jensen retired on the compulsory 25 while Bradburn made 27 to lead the home side to 3 for 87 at the lunch break.
Central Coast resumed their innings but struggled to build a competitive total as Peter Noble claimed two crucial wickets with his well-flighted drifters.
Drummond was again on the spot in his second spell, stand-in skipper Mark Preddey generously took himself off after two quality overs of leg-spin and John Lindsey proved hard to get away.
The visitors limped to 127 after forty overs leaving Highlands with 41 to win.
Preddey started the chase as if keen to get his hands on a pure blonde as soon as possible, smashing a six over mid-wicket to break a paling on his way to 30 retired.
Highlands finished with six overs to spare on 5 for 129, a convincing win.
Just a few days prior Highlands had travelled to LIthgow to play Western Wildfires vastly under strength yet managed to keep the unbeaten record intact even though fielding just eight players!
The Wildfires were all out for only 109, medium pacer Chris Ford being the destroyer with 4 for 14 from his 7 overs.
Tim Dibdin and Peter Noble weighed in with two wickets each while Geoff Glover and Rod Watling claimed one each.
In reply Highlands needed just 33 overs to pass the score, Jensen (20), Noble (25) and Frank Nevill (26) all making significant contributions.
The Highlands 60s do have one more game before putting the cricket gear into storage when they meet a much younger team from Roseville for a social game next month.
Highlands will also be well represented at the forthcoming State of Origin games held in Queensland.
Peter Jensen, Chris Ford, Ian BRadburn and Rod van Beek will all make their Origin debuts in the 60s division as will John Morris in the 70s.
Finally it’s encouraging that the “junior” side, the Highlands 50s, have now had a few games including against ACT and Western Wildfires, and this augurs well for the future of Veterans cricket in the Highlands.