Jack makes his bow - at age of 83

A CRICKETER has been selected to play at Lord's - three months short of his 84th birthday.Cricket-mad Jack Hyams - the world's most prolific batsman at senior club level with more than 122,500 runs to his credit since 1934, including 171 centuries - has received two invitations to play on the hallowed turf.

A CRICKETER has been selected to play at Lord's - three months short of his 84th birthday.

Cricket-mad Jack Hyams - the world's most prolific batsman at senior club level with more than 122,500 runs to his credit since 1934, including 171 centuries - has received two invitations to play on the hallowed turf.

The retired pet shop owner, from Witham, will open the batting for the elite Cross Arrows team against the Stock Exchange on September 19 and again against the Gentlemen of Worcester on September 30.

The Cross Arrows side is exclusively for cricketers who have either played first-class cricket, or coached or played for the MCC.


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“I opened the invitation this morning and could hardly believe my luck. I reckon I'm 20 years older than anybody else who has ever played on the sacred turf,” said Mr Hyams.

The octogenarian, who plays most of his cricket nowadays for Billericay, keeps a meticulous log of every run he has scored and each wicket taken since 1934.

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For the record, he has scored 122,546 runs - comfortably beating the previous

known best, 87,000 by EM Grace, WG Grace's brother.

His record of centuries in seven successive decades beats Jack Hobbs's total of five decades, although Hobbs scored more tons - 244 in all matches.

Mr Hyams has taken 1,327 wickets and scored at least one century each season

from 1934 until 1991 and then a further ton in 1996, at the age of 76.

He still scores a half-century each season, including two this summer, when he

has twice been voted man of the match.

“I still haven't given up hope of becoming the first man in history to

score tons in eight successive decades at senior club level,” said Mr Hyams.

“I'm enjoying my cricket as much as when I first picked up a bat at the age of

eight - and I'll keep on playing as long as I'm fit enough.

“I get a lot of exercise, walking my three dogs each day, taking nets in the

winter, swimming twice a week and playing golf once a fortnight. Mind you, I

prefer scoring boundaries to taking quick singles nowadays.”

Even after the two Lord's matches and the remaining Billericay fixtures,

Mr Hyams' season will be far from over.

He takes his own side to Ibiza and then tours Majorca and mainland Spain in October.

His long-suffering wife, Mabs, said: “Cricket keeps him young. Being

selected to play at Lord's again when he's pushing 84 is a brilliant

achievement.”

Over the years Mr Hyams has played top-class cricket in the Yorkshire and

Birmingham leagues, as well as three times for the MCC.

Mr Hyams scored his first century as a 14-year-old boy in 1934 and added another 19 tons before the war.

His most productive season was 1953 when he scored 4,328 runs and his highest score was 199 not out in an RAF match in Oxfordshire in 1944.

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