The National 60+ County Championship
In 2003 a number of ageing cricketers who wanted to continue to play competitive matches decided that there was scope for an over 60s competition, and set about organising a 60+ Championship. The following season Hertfordshire, Essex, Surrey, Kent and Sussex competed in the new competition with rules based on those used by the ECB over 50s Championship, modified slightly to permit two 59 year olds. Essex and Sussex were the strongest teams in those early years.
By 2006 Suffolk and Norfolk joined to increase the competition to seven counties. By now many counties, even if not playing in the Championship, had a regular list of friendly games and this encouraged Worcestershire and Berkshire to join in 2007.
For 2009 the ten counties who contested the Championship were joined by eight others – Cheshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Cornwall, as well as a second team from Surrey, and the competition was split into North, South, East and West regional groups. 2010 saw three more Counties (Durham/Northumberland, Lincolnshire & Wales) joining taking the total number of participants to twenty-one teams.
In 2011 a Midlands Group was added and the number of teams went up to twenty-six including newcomers Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Gloucestershire. Three more counties, a combined Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire team together with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, joined in 2012 but dreadful weather (114 group matches out of a scheduled 208 were postponed) curtailed the competition. 2013 was a much better year weather-wise but sadly Cornwall withdrew because the travelling distances proved too much for their small squad of players. However, Lancashire, having struggled to raise sides in 2012 re-joined and took a full part in the Championship.
Oxfordshire joined the competition in 2015 and Derbyshire and Cornwall have recently rejoined taking the total number of competing counties to thirty-two. In addition there are twenty-four 60+ 2nd XIs, seven third elevens and four fourth elevens proving that Seniors cricket has the fastest growing participation rate in the country.