AUSTRALIAN cricket legend Brian Booth is achieving something special this season.
Booth is enjoying his 60th season with St George Cricket Club and he was in Orange this week to see the club’s under 17s take on the Western Zone under 17s in a trial match.
Western Zone won the game by four runs to claim the Brian Booth Trophy, which has been played for by the two sides annually since 1994.
“I joined St George in 1952. In those days you had to play for the club in your area. Now you can play for anyone,” Booth said.
Booth, who was born in Perthville and went to school in Bathurst before moving to Sydney to pursue his cricket career, said he is slowly scaling back his involvement with St George.
He still have plenty to do though.
“I am co-patron of the club. I’m on the pre-selection committee and I’m still on the coaching committee,” he explained.
“It keeps me occupied in summer. Compared with what I used to do, I’m scaling it back each year.”
Booth, who will be 79 next month, had a successful career in the sport playing 29 Tests for Australia between 1961 and 1966.
He was also in the Australian men’s hockey team which played in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
He said while he mentors the players at St George, one of his main focuses is ensuring they play in the right spirit of the game.
Booth said he was impressed with what he saw from the under 17s players during Tuesday’s game at Riawena Oval.
Dubbo’s Ben Patterson in particular caught his eye.
“Ben Patterson ended up with four wickets I think. He’s on his way to South Africa to the under 18s World Indoor Championships,” Booth said.
“Unfortunately he had to leave the field so he could go and catch the plane.
“I don’t think our guys would have faced someone in their age group as quick as him.”
While Booth enjoyed the one-day match, he said he couldn’t bring himself to like Twenty20 cricket.
“I’m not rapt up in Twenty20. I’m more into what I call the developmental cricket (Test cricket),” he said.
“I appreciate the other forms of cricket. Twenty20 is presented more as entertainment, particularly at that higher level.
“It is spectacular to see a ball hit that far [n Twenty20].”
Booth said he spends his weekends during the cricket season watching his St George teams in action and offering advice and encouragement.