As Australia takes on England for the Ashes another, slightly older, group is also padding up with grey expectations.
By David Southwell
This week sees a resumption of the age-old rivalry as Australia once more sends over its best cricketers to play England, but some of those players will be a little more experienced than the official Test team.
As the Test sides from the respective nations tussle for the Ashes, Synod presbytery minister and school chaplain Rod Dungan is also representing Australia in the over-60s “Grey Ashes”.
Rod was selected in the touring team of 30, which will play 20-over-a-side matches against opponents aged between 60 and 70 representing English counties and villages from 29 July to 15 September.
The 64-year-old expected the trip to be physically challenging.
“I have been working out in the gym for the past two months just making sure I can get everything as close to perfect as I can for what will be a fairly taxing 18 games in 35 days,” he said.
The Australian side was selected from those who took part in the over-60s national championships last November.
“You put yourself up and then they assess whether you are going to be capable and going to make a good contribution,” Rod said.
Rod says he is something of an all-rounder, but a slightly unusual one: a bowler who puts the wicket keeping gloves on straight after a spell.
“I open the bowling and keep wicket for the rest of the innings,” he said.
“I’m a good bat, but I take too long and in 40-over games you can’t do that. You just spank the ball and then the other side gets in and they spank it.
“However, I love fielding of any sort. I’d go to England just to field.”
The medium pacer says he “can swing the ball in significantly”, which could bode well for English conditions.
Rod has been a keen cricketer since the age of 12 and represented South Australia for the under-21s, but has never played overseas before.
To go on the tour he’ll be taking some leave from his role as Brentwood Secondary College Chaplain, where he pursues his long-time calling as a youth worker.
Rod’s wife will also come along and he plans to do some other travel with her although, unlike his teammates, he isn’t intending to go to any of the Ashes cricket being played by the more junior side.