House of Representatives- Australian Over-60s Cricket Carnival 2008

I had the pleasure of opening the Australian Over-60s Cricket Carnival on Sunday, 16 November at the Hogben-Meckiff Oval in Mentone in my electorate. I was there with Janice Munt, the state member for Mordialloc, and Bill Nixon, Mayor of Kingston. The carnival drew hundreds of participants from around Australia and even a touring English team, who took to the field in an over-60s test match against Australia. What could fire up of a group of Australian cricketers over 60 more than a test against England, where they could play out the rivalries of Bradman and Jardine or Ponting and Flintoff? It was very fitting that the match was played at the Stan Hogben and Ian Meckiff oval. Stan was a local cricket legend, and Ian Meckiff of course was a great Australian opening bowler. Ian came down to toss the coin to start the match.

I had the pleasure of opening the Australian Over-60s Cricket Carnival on Sunday, 16 November at the Hogben-Meckiff Oval in Mentone in my electorate. I was there with Janice Munt, the state member for Mordialloc, and Bill Nixon, Mayor of Kingston. The carnival drew hundreds of participants from around Australia and even a touring English team, who took to the field in an over-60s test match against Australia. What could fire up of a group of Australian cricketers over 60 more than a test against England, where they could play out the rivalries of Bradman and Jardine or Ponting and Flintoff? It was very fitting that the match was played at the Stan Hogben and Ian Meckiff oval. Stan was a local cricket legend, and Ian Meckiff of course was a great Australian opening bowler. Ian came down to toss the coin to start the match.

I want to mention the hard work of the chairman of the Australian Over-60s Cricket Association, Noel Pullen, who is a former member of the Victorian Legislative Council; the president of the Victorian O/60 Cricket Association, Rex Thompson; and the secretary of the Victorian association, John Hammer, in getting this carnival up and running. It is sensational to see a group of people approaching their senior years still so passionate and active. Sport is a major part of our social fabric and it is vitally important that, as people grow older, they keep healthy and active by taking part in physical activity.

The birth of the over-60s form of the game is an interesting and inspiring story. Back in 2002, John Hammer realised that, like him, there were many cricketers over the age of 60 whose love of the game kept them donning the creams every summer weekend. So John worked hard through the media and through social networks to get a group of like-minded vintage cricketers together, and the first over-60s game was played in Brighton in early 2003. Coincidentally, the first over-60s game in England was played later the same year, showing that the passion for cricket and taking the field with your mates despite advancing years was not a uniquely Australian concept.

The over-60s carnival was made possible by a host of volunteers, as for all amateur sport, and they deserve thanks and credit for the success of the carnival. There is nothing we love more than beating England in the cricket, but I am very sorry to report that, despite the hunger to win of the Australian team, the English touring side won in the last over of the test match, chasing the Australian total of 9-130. It was a very good day of cricket, and the carnival as a whole was a great success, with teams from Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. I met Geoff Gallagher, who is from Queensland. It was great to see people from all over Australia. They are all ambassadors for the healthy and active ageing message, which is a message that we should hope is spread throughout the country.