BIG HITTER: Ian Petherick has scored multiple test hundreds for Australia, including a whopping 140 run innings against England last week.
BIG HITTER: Ian Petherick has scored multiple test hundreds for Australia, including a whopping 140 run innings against England last week.

How Tweed's record-breaking hero nearly stole the Ashes

"ONE more season.”

It's been veteran cricketer Ian Petherick's mantra since he turned 40.

But retirement doesn't seem on the cards even now, with the 72-year-old having just returned home from captaining an Australian Ashes tour in England.

Ian, who moved to Tweed Heads five years ago, captained the Australian Over 70s Veterans Cricket team after causing the "old enemy” many a headache in Australia earlier this year, scoring just the third century ever (117 not out) in Over 70s.

Now, that proclamation of "one more season” is a distant memory.

"Since I was 40 it was going to be one more year,” Ian laughed.

"But it's hard to hang up your bat when you're still making teams and receiving honours like captaining your country.

"It's my first time as captain, I was vice captain last time in Australia - it's a great honour, hopefully I can lead the side and still make runs.”

Coming off a 3-0 series win in Australia, Ian was faced with the daunting task of winning an away Ashes in England through August.

His side came awfully close, winning the first match by five runs in Oxfordshire before losing the second match in Sussex by 22 runs and, finally, losing a heart-wrenching thriller in the final.

With England posting 251 in the final match, the Poms were in the box-seat. Then, with Australia into bat, Ian knew it was time for a captain's knock - but no one could have expected what came next.

Australia's impervious skipper notched-up 140 runs - the highest innings of the tour and the highest of his veteran's career.

The Aussies needed 20 off the last two overs, and when they stole 14 off the second-last over, victory seemed more than likely.

But the Poms dug in, and the Aussies needed five off the last ball.

When the final delivery looked headed over the boundary rope, the Aussies looked to have sealed the win. But alas, the ball was court on the boundary, handing England a five-run victory and 2-1 series win.

"It was a fantastic experience,” Ian said, reflecting on the tour upon his return home on Thursday.

"Our team played well and it was a very well-balanced side. But they're hard to beat over there - no Australian side in veteran's cricket has managed to win two series in a row.”

According to Ian, veteran's cricket is the fastest growing arm of the sport. Anyone interested in becoming involved can head to www.veteranscricket australia.com.au.



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