Cricket Diary: Hutchinson extends age limit (7 August 1999)

7 August 1999

Cricket Diary: Hutchinson extends age limit

Neil Hallam

When Jimmy Hutchinson made his debut for Derbyshire, the First World War had been over for less than two years, women were being admitted to degrees at Oxford University for the first time and the first 'talkie' films were still eight years away.

On Monday, James Metcalf Hutchinson (born Nov 29, 1896), will reach the age of 102 years and 253 days at his home in Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, and will claim his own mark in history by becoming the longest-lived first-class cricketer, overtaking the record of South African fast-bowler Rupert de Smidt, who lived from 1883 to 1986 and played for Western Province between 1911 and 1913.

Hutchinson, a former miner whose career stretched from 1920 to 1931, is described in Derbyshire's official history as "a useful middle-order batsman and medium-pace off-break bowler". It adds that "his forte" was magnificent fielding at cover-point and claims that he was "perhaps the most outstanding fielder in the county's history".

In 255 matches for Derbyshire he scored 7,042 runs, with five centuries, for an average of 18.63 and claimed 31 wickets at 39.94 apiece.

His wife, Anne, says that after a period in care following a chest problem he is now back home and "getting about well" using a Zimmer frame.

She adds: "He has always had phenomenal energy and wonderful health and puts his longevity down to good food and keeping busy. In fact, he's eaten the wrong things all his life - pork chops, fried onion rings and suchlike - but has very rarely smoked and has been a virtual tee-totaller.

Former Yorkshire captain Phil Carrick would like it to be known that he is alive, well and umpiring second XI cricket - not, as persistent rumour has suggested, lingering at death's door with a terminal illness.

For much of this season the county circuit has buzzed with sympathetic accounts of Carrick's supposedly advanced state of decline, but from Chelmsford, where he was standing in Essex's second XI game game against Middlesex this week, he insisted: "It's completely untrue.

"I'm aware that a story about me having terminal cancer has been doing the rounds, which has been horrible for my family, but I can assure everybody I'm fine.

"I do have chronic lymphatic leukaemia, which is a very mild condition, and on a couple of occasions earlier this summer I was quite poorly when infections set in.

"But the condition is treatable with medication and occasional transfusions and the specialists assure me there is no reason why I shouldn't live another 30 years or more and die of something else.

"Umpiring is a physically demanding job and you couldn't do it unless you were in good shape. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and looking forward to getting a chance to move up the first-class list eventually."

Bad light will not stop play when the first total eclipse of the sun to be seen in Britain for more than 70 years turns day to night in the late morning of next Wednesday.

"We thought about that and planned well in advance with a memo to all who might be affected," says ECB press officer Brian Murgatroyd.

"Those counties involved in matches on that day have been told they can delay the start of play until after the eclipse, which we reckon should mean noon at the latest."

Hampshire League club Steep had their first pitch invasion last weekend when 20 "ecstatic" spectators mobbed Rudi Antrobus after he hit five sixes in a final over from which 30 runs were needed to claim victory against top-of-the-table Burridge.

The last over actually yielded 33 but Steep were unable to present Antrobus with the ball as a souvenir."

Scorer Giles Williams explained: "It disappeared under a tractor and was lost in the next field - the third ball to go missing in that one amazing over."

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (