CROMPTON cricketer John Punchard admits he is still “pinching myself” after making his debut for England at the age of 60.
Punchard was a member of the England over 60s team that recently won the three-match Ashes series against Australia.
“I played for the League Cricket Conference in the past, but it was an honour to play for my country. It really struck home when they play the national anthem before games,” he explained.
And the veteran all-rounder admitted he is keeping his diary clear in 2019 for the return series Down Under.
It was a summer to remember for Punchard as he was simply elated to make the team.
He explained: “I am the youngster in the side having only just qualified. Indeed, the England trials took place when I was still aged 59.
“There was a lot of competition and it was so hard to get in that it was a fantastic when I found out I was in the squad.”
Punchard played in all three of the games against the Aussies whose side included a couple of former one-day international players. The England team was captained by John Foster, a former player for Werneth in the CLL.
The matches were played at Blackpool, where Punchard was named man of the match, Kidderminster and Salisbury. England won all three games.
Punchard intends to continue playing for the over-60s next year when they have fixtures against Wales, Scotland and the over 60s county champions.
But he is already eyeing the next Ashes series that is in Australia.
Previously Punchard played for Lancashire over-50s, captaining the side for a five-year period before retiring to concentrate on over-60s cricket.
Punchard, who began playing first-team cricket for Royton in 1973, is still turning out for Crompton.
Though primarily a second-team player, he was also summoned to appear for the first team at Glebe Street on numerous occasions last season.