Samantha Dawes - 5 October 2015
Round one of the Australian Masters Games cricket competition kicked off this morning, with the oldest and youngest cricketer facing off against one another in searing heat.
Both opening batsman for their respective sides, 67-year-old Francis “Boof” Smith of the Ashbourne Bulls and 35-year-old Keegan Catford of the LMS Slingers were determined to do their team proud.
With Asbourne first to bat, Smith was at the crease early in the morning but fell victim in an unlucky dismissal in the first over.
Catford, however, was the second highest run-scorer for the LMS Slingers – belting some brilliant boundaries before being caught and bowled on 15 out of the possible 30 runs, as per the Cricket 6’s format.
It was not to be for the LMS Slingers though, who were 7 down for 113 after the 14 over innings.
Asbourne finished the match all out for 163.
Thirty-two years his Boof Smith’s junior, Orraroo’s Keegan Catford began his love affair with cricket at the ripe age of six and began playing in Port Pirie for his primary school.
“I played school cricket in Port Pirie and continued right through high school and university and haven’t stopped since.”
While the pair both share in their love for cricket, their careers are vastly different.
Catford works in IT for a business creating banking software for credit unions, whilst Smith is a former farmer of a family cattle station in the Northern Territory, where he managed five to seven thousand head of cattle on more than two million acres of land.
Like Catford, Smith began playing cricket as a boy but had to return to the farm at sixteen and took over from his father in 1976.
Smith eventually resumed his cricket career and now has at least 58 years of the game under his belt.
His son Peter, who is captain of the Asbourne Bulls, praises his dad’s commitment to cricket.
“Dad would fly us out really early on a Sunday morning and fly to Alice Springs which is about a 45 minute flight in the plane to play cricket.”
“Dad was pretty dedicated. He loves his cricket and that’s why he’s still playing,” Peter said.
Today’s round highlighted proved the game of cricket unites those young and old, from all different walks of life.
Rounds three and four continue tomorrow with the final match deciding the Masters Games champions.
As of Sunday afternoon, Uncanny XXX Men are at the top of the ladder, followed by the Woodside Warriors.
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