Rookie Glover makes his mark– at 61

Evergreen Paul Glover is proving a chip off the old block for Tong Manor CC – after making his first-team debut at the not-so-tender age of 61!

The Farsley Celtic stalwart has switched his attentions from the round-ball game to the leather and willow variety this summer, producing some spritely performances to help his side blaze a trail at the top of Division C of the Dales Council League.

It wasn't exactly a case of the old-boy network enlisting the services of Glover for Tong in their debut season back in the league, more a case of a couple of pints and some gentle arm-twisting from some drinking buddies in the nearby Greyhound pub.

A bit of slogging with the Taverners pub social XI, who play fundraising matches on Tuesday nights, got Glover into the swing of things and when Tong Manor decided to reform and re-enter league cricket, the experienced campaigner was soon thrust into the fray.

On donning his cricketing whites, Glover said: "I'd always been football-orientated and had played for Farsley Celtic and been involved as chairman and director and played there for 17 years.

"I've also been on the committee and was groundsman, and I am also the current tannoy announcer!

"But a few years ago, I started going in the Greyhound and I spoke to Dave Darbyshire, who runs the Taverners, and said I'd have a go as I've always been sport-minded.

"I used to be cricket captain at school many, many years ago

"I became a regular and last year, I won the most promising newcomer award! And when the first team started again in the league, they were a bit worried about numbers and I basically said I'd play if they were short on a Saturday.

"For the first game, they were short and I played – and I have done ever since!

"I used to be a bowler and didn't do too bad, but I am sort of a middle-order batter, really. I come in and if I hit it, it goes for a six. If I don't, I get out...

"In terms of fielding, I'm usually on the boundary and I've taken a couple of good catches already, including one fielding at point.

"There's quite a good mix of experience and young lads here and I've really enjoyed it."

Glover is certainly doing the old guard proud, contributing with a nifty 31 on debut against Saville Stars, while also hitting a key 43 in a dramatic one-win victory over rivals Mount.

All told, Tong have won all eight completed league matches this term and currently lead the table by a whopping 32 points, with age clearly proving no barrier in their peerless season to date.

Secretary Bob McCutcheon added: "Paul has played his part in his first year in league cricket. I know some players who have been physically okay to play into their 70s, but it's certainly unusual for someone to make his debut at 61!

"One or two in the team are around 18 and we've a few old lads and the age range is probably 18 to 61. I'm 59 and actually only gave up a couple of years ago and just cut the grass and act as the groundsman now!"