Inverell cricketer Eric Higgins has been selected in the over 60s Veteran Australian Cricket Team to tour New Zealand in February, 2019.
Higgins declared cricket as his first love after picking up a bat around the age of 12, and he’s barely put it down since.
In mid-October, he represented New England in a State Championship held in Maitland scoring three 40s and a 19 in the four days played.
“Players had to retire at 40 to ensure all players were sited for the state selectors watching,” he said.
From there, he represented New South Wales in the Australian Championships three weeks later in Penrith.
In the Australian Championships he scored 50, 44, 50 and 4 in the four innings – this time players had to retire at 50.
NSW were defeated by Victoria in the final. Higgins was man of the match in the two games where he scored the 50s.
Higgins had also represented NSW last year in the same over 60s Championship.
He was one of only two players from NSW to gain selection in the Australian Team for the upcoming tour.
“It was an honour to be selected for the tour. Veterans cricket has come a long way in the past 10 years. I hope I can do Australia proud.”
Higgins grew up in Gloucester and moved to Sydney to study.
Starting as a 19 year old, he played cricket for Randwick for three years. Also in the team was Australian cricketer Mike Whitney and local NSW representative Gary Bensley- son of locals Bob and Pam Bensley.
He then played two years with Penrith and three with Newcastle as he moved to Maitland with work.
He later moved back to his home town of Gloucester and from there went on to represent NSW country for three years while in his early 30s.
Higgins, his wife Vicky and their three children then moved to Inverell farming on the Kings Plains Road road in January 2002.
“We came from steep country and thought Inverell would be a bit flatter. Inverell has been a great home to us ever since,” he said.
Still playing club cricket each Saturday and representing Inverell in a New England Veterans competition, Higgins has plenty of opportunity to practice before New Zealand.
“The New England Veterans competition involves six teams: Inverell/Glen Innes, two Armidale sides, Walcha, Guyra and Tamworth.
“There’s an over 45s that play every two to three weeks and an over 57s that play once a month,” he said.
Higgins described cricket as a good character building sport.
“It’s one of those games that requires concentration.”