GOLDEN Oldies cricket legends ‘The Gentlemen of Nowra Eleven (GONE)’ will be taking trans-Tasman competition to a less serious and more social level, when they join some of cricket’s best mature athletes bat it out during the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration, held in Christchurch this April.
They’ll be taking on teams of cricket enthusiasts from all over the world as part of the 5,000-strong sporting event, but in particular, they’re looking forward to coming up against their old friends, New Zealand’s Karaka Stallions.
As fun, friendship and fraternity are the core values of the Golden Oldies sporting movement, president and manager Bob Ducie said his team are looking forward to scoring a few runs against their international competitors then sharing a pint or two in the pub afterwards.
“The camaraderie, friendships, laughter, competition, local culture, food and drinks all make Golden Oldies sports so memorable,” Ducie said.
“And as for the Kiwis beating us on the cricket field – they can live in hope.”
Cricket Week is expected to be one of the most popular weeks of the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration, organised by Vintage Sport and Leisure and supported by major events agency ChristchurchNZ.
General manager of Attraction at ChristchurchNZ Linda Falwasser said Christchurch is the original stronghold of New Zealand cricket and the perfect place to host such an iconic sporting event.
“We encourage the whole community to get involved, check out the games and enjoy the experience,” Falwasser said.
This year marks the first time in history all Golden Oldies sporting events are held in same host city, with around 600 local and international cricket players and their supported tipped to take part in the 5,000 player-strong festival.
While several teams have ex-professional players in their ranks, Ducie said The Gentlemen of Nowra Eleven is made up of social and club cricketers and whatever they may lack in talent or agility, they certainly make up for in enthusiasm.
“I am one of the club players who aspired to great things but alas, had a brilliant career nipped in the bud like so many others,” Ducie said.
With their oldest member 68 and youngest 51, the team has opted to play in the “social” division and is looking forward to adding Christchurch to their extensive list of Golden Oldies destinations.
“We are a group that loves to travel and the majority of my group will be involved in either pre or post-tours around New Zealand,” Ducie said.
Founded in 1962, GONE has toured all over world, attending Golden Oldies Cricket tournaments in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Barbados, England and Australia ad Mr Ducie says the team has never missed a Golden Oldies event.