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Croxley Green cricketer Tony MacDonald-Barker picked for first over 70s Ashes series
England clinched the Ashes in Durham earlier this week but there will be double cause for celebration if Croxley Green’s Tony MacDonald-Barker helps them beat their Australian counterparts in the first officially recognised Over-70s Ashes series.
The 70-year-old has been included as part of the England squad, with the first Test at Hursley Park Cricket Club in Winchester yesterday.
A slow left-arm bowler, MacDonald-Barker admitted his call-up came out of the blue.
He said: “I was surprised to hear I had been called up, but I was lucky enough to be the leading wicket taker in the Herts Spitfire County League.”
MacDonald-Barker, who plays his club cricket for Rickmansworth’s Over-60 and Over-70 sides in the Spitfire Championship, as well as representing Hertfordshire in the Over-70s National Championships, has taken 3,575 wickets in a career which saw him play for Old Merchant Taylors’ for 50 years.
A ten-match Over-60s series took place between 2009 and 2012, but this is the first time the Over-70s have met: MacDonald-Barker said: “An unofficial team went out to Australia a few years ago, but this is the first time a team have been recognised by the ECB or their respective board.”
As well as playing for five clubs and his country, MacDonald-Barker is involved in the administrative side of the game as the Hertfordshire Spitfires League Over-70s fixture secretary.
Playing 80 or 90 games a season means MacDonald-Barker will prepare for this series like any match and admits he is not feeling nervous.
He said: “I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m not really nervous and I know quite a lot of the England players from playing against them.
“I’ve had a look through the list of Australia players coming over, but there aren’t any notable names – I think anyone who was anyone just plays for charity these days.”
The remaining fixtures will take place at the Three Bridges Cricket Club on Sunday and the Sudbury on Thames Cricket Club next Thursday.
n Chipperfield Clarendon will host Australia Over-70s in a match against Hertfordshire Over-70s on Monday.
The 45-over match gets underway at the Common at noon and entrance is free for everyone with a BBQ being held in the evening.
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