Earl Stonham: Loyal village cricket fan celebrates her 98th birthday with the team she has followed since the 1950s

Keeping score: Mary Penistan with 98th birthday greetings from members of the Earl Stonham Cricket C

Keeping score: Mary Penistan with 98th birthday greetings from members of the Earl Stonham Cricket Club team playing their last home game of the season against Harwich and Dovercourt on Saturday - Credit: Archant

It’s 98 not out for cricket fan Mary.

Keeping score: Mary Penistan with 98th birthday greetings from members of the Earl Stonham Cricket C

Keeping score: Mary Penistan with 98th birthday greetings from members of the Earl Stonham Cricket Club team playing their last home game of the season against Harwich and Dovercourt on Saturday - Credit: Archant

For decades and decades Mary Penistan has loyally supported Earl Stonham Cricket Club, near Stowmarket.

From 1954 right up to today she has been keeping score, sometimes in an official capacity, sometimes just for fun.

And on Saturday the team, which she is a vice-president of, marked her 98th birthday.

Her daughter, Frankie Wicks, 67, from the village, said: “She has been a cricket fan all her life, she grew up near Halesworth in Rumburgh and her father was a keen cricketer. She was an only child but could not play cricket because she was a girl but she kept score. She still really enjoys village cricket, with the local personalities, rather than test cricket.

Birthday girl: Mary Penistan keeping score with daughter Frankie Wicks as Earl Stonham Cricket Club

Birthday girl: Mary Penistan keeping score with daughter Frankie Wicks as Earl Stonham Cricket Club team play their last home game of the season against Harwich and Dovercourt on Saturday - Credit: Archant

“It’s a very friendly family club, it has a nice atmosphere. The chairman and president’s match is held once a year and she always goes to that.”

The family has a strong connection with the club with three generations playing for them. Mary’s late husband Dick, Mrs Wicks’ husband, David, 67 and grandsons Ben and James have all played for the club over the years.

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Now as Mary nears her centenary year she watches matches from the comfort and warmth of a car. During the Second World War she worked as a nurse and then as a farmer’s wife when she and her Dick moved to Earl Stonham in the 1940s.

Mrs Wicks added: “She just loves cricket and local cricket, she’s not interested in football or other sports but she does like tennis. Village cricket has always been part of her life.”

Mary was born Mary Hibberd and is here with her parents Walter and Helena Hibberd at Rumburgh, near

Mary was born Mary Hibberd and is here with her parents Walter and Helena Hibberd at Rumburgh, near Halesworth. It was her father Walter who gave her the love of cricket.He played for Rumburgh and he and her grandfather, Mr Thorpe, gave Rumburgh the land for their cricket ground. - Credit: Archant

Mary Penistan and her son-in-law David Wicks watching the cricket in 1989

Mary Penistan and her son-in-law David Wicks watching the cricket in 1989 - Credit: Archant

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