Stuck stars in Aussie 'test'

TWO Counties cricketer John Stuck was named joint man-of-the-match in the inaugural Over-60s 'Test' match between England and Australia.Stuck, who celebrated his 65th birthday while in Australia, was voted best batsman in the unofficial Test held near Melbourne which England won by seven wickets.

Nick Garnham

TWO Counties cricketer John Stuck was named joint man-of-the-match in the inaugural Over-60s 'Test' match between England and Australia.

Stuck, who celebrated his 65th birthday while in Australia, was voted best batsman in the unofficial Test held near Melbourne which England won by seven wickets.

Stuck, who now plays for the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties veterans' sides after a distinguished career with Clacton, was part of a 21-strong tour party that also included 17 Yorkshiremen, two from Hertfordshire and one from Kent that enjoyed a successful tour.


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Adrian Grayson, father of Essex coach Paul, and Mel Wood, father of former Lancashire and England all-rounder Barry, were among the party.

The trip, which was organised after the Australians visited England in 2006, was open to anyone who wished to go, rather than players being selected, which is why the game between the two countries was not an official 'Test' match.

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The match was originally due to be held at the MCG in Melbourne, but was moved to Mentone CC, situated half an hour's drive outside the city, because Victoria were playing Tasmania in a rescheduled state match at the world-renowned venue.

Stuck scored an undefeated 40 as England successfully chased their target of 132 before being forced to retire under the rules adopted for Australian veterans' cricket, whereas in this country there is no limit on the number of runs batsmen can score.

He said: “I had to retire on reaching 40, although that should have been 30. However, one of their players reached 37 before he was called in, so I was allowed to carry on upon reaching 30 not out, although I could not go back in.”

The Australian team was captained by Geoff Dymock, the former Australian left-arm fast bowler who played in 21 Tests and 15 one-day internationals between 1974 and 1980.

Stuck said of his innings: “I was quite pleased to see off an ex-Test bowler, although obviously he was not as quick as he used to be!”

Stuck, who was troubled by an injured Achilles heel injury throughout the tour, was named 'batsman of the match' and was presented with a Don Bradman replica bat.

He added: “The 'Test' match was the highlight of the tour and was a fabulous occasion. There was a big crowd and lots of Press interest. I got a huge ovation for being named batsman of the match.”

As a result of winning the award Stuck was subsequently interviewed on the breakfast show of local radio station 88.3 Southern FM.

Stuck, who played Minor Counties cricket for Suffolk, also batted in two matches in Sydney at the start of the tour, scoring 30 and 40 not out, as the tourists beat both a New South Wales City XI and a NSW Country XI.

After the 'Test' match the tourists took part in a tournament held at Fawkner Park in Melbourne. Stuck did not play as they narrowly defeated Tasmania, before being run out for 14 against ACT from Canberra. The match against Victoria was rained off before Stuck scored 25 in the victory over South Australia, but it was Victoria who won the tournament on a countback system.

Stuck also took the opportunity to watch Clacton's Michael Comber, the former Essex Academy all-rounder who will be on the Essex staff as a 'Bursary Pro' next season, playing for Newtown & Chilwell CC in Geelong as well as watching the Australian Masters golf at Huntingdale and celebrating his 65th birthday while in Melbourne.

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