With the future of Oxfordshire cricket looking healthy given the huge numbers of youngsters playing the game under the OCB ‘umbrella’ it’s perhaps no surprise to see the recent exponential growth in seniors cricket such is the enthusiasm for the game throughout the county.
The OCB currently fields no fewer than three sides at Under 50s, three at Over 60s and for the first time this year the county will also field an Over 70s XI.
All seven teams are now collectively run as the OCB Seniors Group, chaired by Darryl Woods and supported by a committee drawn from all three age groups, representing over 160 players from more than 30 different clubs from the four corners of the county.
So it’s fair to say that seniors cricket in Oxfordshire has come a long way since Derek Primett and Bob Boyles first persuaded the then Oxfordshire County Cricket Association to enter an Over 50s XI in the ECB Over 50s County Championship.
Since that first game against Berkshire at Kidmore End in June of 1986, the many players who’ve proudly pulled on the Oxfordshire Seniors sweater have definitely punched above their collective weight, initially under Derek and Bob, and then notably the seven seasons skippered by Andrew Wingfield Digby, which saw the Over 50s win over 80 per cent of their games. The pinnacle of which was winning the competition in 2008 when they beat Lancashire on the famous Nursery Ground at Lords, as well as reaching another final and two semi finals.
The 50s 2nd XI was created in 2016 by Chris Bishop and under current skipper Ross Buchanan has enjoyed even greater success reaching five finals in the past seven years – winning four of them.
And such was the increasing demand from seniors in Oxfordshire to play for their county that the 50s 3rd XI soon followed in 2020 and promptly won the inaugural Chris Bishop Trophy for Over 50s 3rd XIs, defended their title the following year and only missed out on the hat-trick by losing to Wales in the 2022 final. In 2023 11 teams will contest this competition proudly named in honour of one of the county’s stalwarts of seniors cricket.
But time waits for no man and mindful of that fact the first Over 60s XI matches were played during the 2015 season which included a notable win over the touring Australian Over 60 s XI at Aston Rowant.
The early driving force behind the creation of Oxfordshire Over 60s was Clive Ricks, who then went on to become the Overs 60s national chairman and remains heavily involved to the present day as both administrator and player, currently skippering the recently formed 3rd XI, and organising the county’s first Over 70’s fixtures.
The first skipper of the Over 60s was the indomitable Andrew Wingfield-Digby, who in 2017 lead the team to the Over 60s County Championship semi finals and since then the side has only failed to reach the tournaments knock out stages on one occasion.
Small wonder then that a second XI was needed and duly formed in 2018, and captained by Jerry Senior, the side then went all the way to the national finals in its first season.
And not to be outdone the 3rd XI – formed in the immediate post covid year of 2021, soon found its feet and winning ways by making it through to the national semi finals in 2022 where they lost a close fought game against Wales the eventual competition winners.
Looking to the future the first Over 70s fixtures are scheduled for the 2023 season with a squad of 18 players representing the county in eight reciprocal friendlies against Wales, Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire with a view to entering the Over 70s County Championship in 2024.
“Sadly neither Derek Primett, Bob Boyles or Chris Bishop are still with us too see just how far we have come with their initial vision of seniors cricket when they started it way back in 1985,” said Seniors Cricket Chairman Darryl Woods. “However I’m sure they’d all be delighted to see so many ‘seniors’ playing competitively for the county they were so proud to represent, and continuing to be one of the sides to be reckoned with in the latter stages of the competition at both Over 50s, Over 60s – and hopefully soon – at Over 70s.
“But that’s not to say that we’re not still looking to recruit new players in all the age groups. I know there are seniors players around the county’s clubs who have still not represented Oxfordshire and I’m equally sure there are plenty of others of whom we are not aware. If you’d like to know more about playing within the seniors set up drop us a line via the link below.”
Seniors cricket secretary: Simon Brown: 07880 730827 and firstname.lastname@example.org
07879 422989 email@example.com
07572 545386 firstname.lastname@example.org
07836 565912 email@example.com
07825 685960 firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 60s secretary – Peter Howe 07775 697342 – email@example.com
Over 60s 1st XI captain – Phil Manger – 07843 246376 Phil.firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 60s 2nd XI captain – Andy Haynes – 07798 940921 – Andy.email@example.com
Over 60s 3rd XI captain – Clive Ricks 07881 452774 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 70s captain – David Beck – 07852 998172 – email@example.com