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Gibraltar Reader breaks record in international cricket

11 June 2024

Sally Barton, the world’s oldest international cricketer, expects to extend her record

Sally Barton

A READER in Gibraltar has become the world’s oldest international cricketer, after keeping wicket in a match between Estonia and Gibraltar.

Sally Barton was 66 years and 334 days old when the International Cricket Council T20-sanctioned match was played in April, breaking the previous record by almost a year.

She expects to extend her record on Friday, when Gibraltar play Croatia and Czech in Prague, when she will be 67.

Ms Barton is married to the Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Ian Tarrant. For ten years, in the late 1990s, the couple worked for the Church Mission Society (CMS) in the Republic of the Congo.

She was licensed as a Reader on her return, serving in the diocese of Chelmsford, where Dean Tarrant was Vicar of St Mary’s, Woodford, before they moved to the diocese in Europe.

“Those are actually the cricket scores. His wife’s playing a match”

She told the Church Times that her only brush with clergy cricket so far had been while her husband was training for ordination at St John’s, Nottingham, when the college played a match against Cuddesdon.

Dean Tarrant was not, she said, much of a cricketer, and so she played for St John’s in his stead; but, when it turned out that Cuddesdon was a player short, he ended up having to come to the crease for the rival college.

Ms Barton, who was keeping wicket, and has been a keen cricketer since her schooldays, recalls offering him advice on his stance and shot selection.

Cricket, she said, offered a unique opportunity for conversation and fellowship, and was unusual among team sports in being able to incorporate players of a range of ages, genders, and ability levels without making the game non-competitive.

The rhythms of the game also mimicked life, she suggested. “Sometimes, it can seem like it’s just plodding along, but there’s actually a lot going on beneath the surface, and the game can switch in an instant.”

Northern clergy Twenty20 match. Three sides representing four dioceses played out a thrilling Twenty20 (T20) match in Leeds on Monday of last week, writes Phil Arnold.

Leeds, Sheffield, and a combined team from Carlisle and Blackburn played each other at Pudsey Congs Cricket Club in Leeds, the ground where VVS Laxman, the great Indian batsman, plied his trade in the Bradford League.

In the first match, Sheffield started brightly against Leeds, with Ovenden and Oatridge scoring quickly. The total of 137 looked healthy on a slow wicket. After Carew retired on 35, Leeds were struggling, but a strong middle order brought it back to within 35 runs in the final four overs. The left-arm off spinner Gilmour came on to take a hat trick, however, and Leeds were bowled out for 120.

Phil ArnoldNorthern players at the Pudsey Congs Cricket Club in Leeds, on Monday

In the second match, Sheffield batted first against Carlisle/Blackburn. There were notable contributions from Gilmour (retired 35) and Graham (retired 35), who hit 26 off one over. Sheffield hit 138 in 20 overs. Sohail kept things limited with a spell of 2 for 14, alongside an economical effort from the leg spin of Brown (1 for 9 off his four overs). Blackburn/Carlisle batted solidly, but wickets came at regular intervals. Boundaries were hard to come by as the run rate increased, and they finished on a respectable 89 for 5. There were a couple of wickets for Sheriden.

The final match, between Leeds and Blackburn/Carlisle, was reduced to 15 overs. Leeds batted first, and scored 94, with Harlow taking 38 quick runs. Blackburn/ Carlisle batted steadily and knocked over the runs with an over to spare after a partnership from Brown and Fyfe, who both retired not out on 35 and 38 respectively.

It was a great day’s cricket and the hope is that, in the absence of the Church Times Cup, we can resurrect some time out in the middle, playing cricket. . .

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