A keen cricketer from Essex produced a man of the match performance to help England’s over 50s cricket team to win an international tournament.
Garry Neicho, 58, a team manager at Riverside Sewage Treatment Works in Rainham, was a member of the England south over 50s side who won the competition in Cape Town, South Africa, at the iconic Newlands cricket ground at the end of March.
Organised by the Western Province, the tournament included four sides from South Africa, and two sides from England, a north and south side.
After breezing through the preliminary matches, a Neicho-inspired England south side managed to comfortably beat England North to win the final match.
He took three wickets for just seven runs in eight overs, and was duly handed the man of the match award at the end of the game. His stunning bowling at one point led to England North rocking on 32/6, and they were eventually bowled out for 96.
It was his debut outing for the side, and Garry said it couldn’t have gone any better.
He said: “South Africa is a beautiful country and Cape Town was stunning. The ground, Newlands, is probably the most attractive in the world after Lords, so it was great to play there.
“England North are a great team, and included an ex-international player and three former professional players, and nobody thought we could beat them, but we played well.
“Sometimes, everything goes your way. I bowled really well in the final, I think they were a little bit shell shocked."
Garry has been playing cricket since the tender age of 13, and has played for South Woodford Cricket Club during his 45-year-long career, plus stints for the county side and also currently plays for Essex over 50s.
He was called up to the England south side after his talents were spotted at a national competition, and admits that the tournament win in South Africa is one of his career highlights.
“I have some really good memories playing cricket, winning cups and league titles, but this is definitely up there, playing at Newlands and being awarded man of the match.
“Nobody expected us to win, but we did and it was a great experience.”
Garry has now returned to his day job in Essex, but his preparations for the season are now well underway, and he also has several other trips abroad, including a tour of Barbados, with his club side Essex.