Highlands Veterans completed another very successful season of cricket before concerns around COVID-19 forced an early conclusion to 2019/20.
President David Wells recently submitted his annual report to the membership and commented on the "enthusiasm, sportsmanship and a collegiate atmosphere that defined our play".
There was certainly much to be proud of in the way the teams performed in social matches, the NSW state championships and the inaugural Vintage League but also in the individual achievements of those who represented Highlands in various state and national contexts.
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Finishing as runners up in the final at the NSW State 60s Carnival in Maitland, for the second consecutive year, was a standout effort.
Highlands were also runners up to George River in the Vintage League competition, a performance full of merit considering the quality of the opposition from Sydney, Newcastle and beyond.
Furthermore Highlands were second in the League's Spirit of Cricket competition where points were given by the umpires reflecting the manner in which the team played.
A season highlight was the club's hosting of the England side at Chater Oval during their return series to Australia when they played a Southern NSW XI.
All stops were pulled out to make this match memorable both on and off the field.
With Southern NSW eventually prevailing, much merriment was generated after the match at a warm reception for both teams hosted by Ian Bradburn at his Fitzroy Falls facility.
Highlands' representatives in this triumph were Rod van Beek, Ian Bradburn, Paul Cullen, Peter Jensen, Grant Lewis, Rod Watling and Gary Whitaker.
Of particular note was the national selection of two of our members, Ian Bradburn and Peter Jensen, to tour England last July with the Australian Vets side.
Both acquitted themselves very well at this highest of all representative levels.
Jensen also played in the three Australia v England ODI matches held subsequently to the match, England eventually prevailing in the series.
David Wells sums up Jensen's contribution to Highlands Veterans as follows:
"Pete Jensen remains a driving force behind the Club's success both on and off the field. His peerless batting, determined and decisive captaincy together with scheduling the matches and juggling team selections, sometimes at late notice, was magnificent."
The contribution made by the two curators, Rod van Beek and Rod Watling, cannot be underestimated and they are a large reason why our club is so well regarded among the wider Vets cricket circle.
Deserved acknowledgement also goes to the Chater Oval hosts, Neil and Anna McConnochie and without their generosity and patronage Highlands would not have a place to call home.
It was anti-climactic that the season had to finish so suddenly but nonetheless it was very busy with 28 Southern Highlands games scheduled including 13 Social, 7 Vintage League, 4 State Championship and four 20/20 matches.
In addition, Highlands players represented in 4 National Championship games in both 60's and 70's, together with a State of Origin series against Queensland comprising 2 games.
Highlands Veterans will hold an AGM when conditions permit and David Wells has advised "that we will again be seeking to launch next season with our welcome function for all players, wives and partners beside the fireplace in the Bradman Pavilion Library to sometime in mid-August - virus willing".