THE South East Coasters Cricket Club has a busy season ahead, with no shortage of opportunities for veteran cricketers of the region to be involved in their sport of choice.
Consisting of players over the age of 50, the Coasters side is made up of members from the Mount Gambier district and as far as Penola, Padthaway and Lucindale.
The first four-day carnival of the year was held in Mildura late last month and was deemed a success, while the club now enters a busy period over the coming months.
November will see a contingent of South East veterans take on Australia’s best at the National Championships in both Over 60’s and Over 70’s.
Mount Gambier cricket stalwart Gary Ashby is among the South East players in the Over 70 side, along with Colin Hutchesson and Noel Stratman.
“If you go to the nationals, there is the chance of being picked to play for Australia,” Ashby said.
“At the nationals you represent your state and we have three going to the nationals in the Over 70’s.
“And there is probably half a dozen of the Over 60’s going to the nationals.”
Representing the Over 60’s are Steve Bell, Colin Murdock, Neil Perry, Mick Young, Tony Leggo, Phil Dohnt, Phil Vercoe and Terry Bound, who will compete at Adelaide in early November.
The Over 70’s nationals are to be played at Albury/Wodonga mid-November.
Looking ahead to 2020, the Border Cup will be contested between Adelaide, Geelong, Hamilton and the South East Coasters.
Hamilton will host the event, which will be a four-day carnival played in early February.
Also in February, Mount Gambier will welcome Victorian rivals to its home pitches for the annual battle of the states.
“There are three state games in Mount Gambier on February 11,” Ashby said.
“They are Over 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, all against Victoria.”
Adding to the busy schedule, some South East Coasters – along with Adelaide players and a few from Western Districts – will make the trip across the ditch to play on the north island of New Zealand.
The representative side will play 14 games against local clubs from the rival country.
Ashby was the instigator behind organising the trip, but will be unable to make the journey himself due to being tied up Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association finals.
However, he said it was one of the many great opportunities for veteran cricketers.
“You do not have to play in the nationals and stuff like that – if you want to go on a tour of England or South Africa you can do that,” Ashby said.
“We went to England last year and had a few players from Hamilton and around Mount Gambier and a few from Adelaide.
“There are always those opportunities.”
Ashby said the Coasters are currently looking for a few more players to bolster the ranks, in hopes of being able to play some in-house games.
“We are looking at those guys who we call ‘juniors’ – players around 57, 58, 59 – to join our local competition,” he said.
“We have about 14 players, but if we can find another half a dozen we could have a couple of matches locally amongst ourselves.”
The Coasters train every Friday night during the summer months from 4pm at East Gambier.