Australia’s oldest cricketer dies at 100

Melbourne, Sep 24 (IANS) Australia’s oldest cricketer Harold Stapleton, who represented New South Wales (NSW), has died aged 100.

An all-rounder, who played only one first-class match for NSW in 1941 before his career was cut short by the second World War, he celebrated his 100th birthday during the Sydney Test against India in January, reported on Thursday.

Stapleton marked the occasion with friends and family in Wollongong while the milestone was acknowledged on the scoreboard at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), a match Stapleton watched on television with his nephew Kevin. He was given a gift of a signed Australian Test shirt by Cricket Australia (CA).

Stapleton served with the Australian Army in Papua New Guinea during the war.

“Harold Stapleton was one of the finest sportsmen the North Coast has produced. He played many sports to a high standard but excelled at cricket, playing for Northern NSW against Gubby Allen’s English touring team,” Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones said.

“A punishing left-handed batsman and left-arm medium pace bowler, Harold joined the St. George Club when it was captained by Bill O’Reilly and included Arthur Morris and Ray Lindwall. He played only one game for NSW but almost certainly would have played more had it not been for the war, in which he served his country with distinction.”

Former Australia wicketkeeper Len Maddocks is now Australia’s oldest living cricketer, aged 89 years and 112 days. While Stapleton’s career with NSW was short, he had great success at grade level with Sydney club St. George.

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