An interesting story I heard recently when chatting with two fellow Kirkheaton Cons bowlers. Ken Brook and Ken Baxter (pictured below) were talking about days gone by and the subject of the Veterans League came up and how, for many years, the age limit that bowlers qualified to play in the League was set at 62 years of age. This was at odds with the seniors definition as set by the BCGBA of 65 years or any other logical milestone.
Such an odd number must have some science behind it and between them they recalled the reasoning which stretches back to the very earliest days of the League which was formed in 1970. The Veterans League Management Committee at that time was dominated by former ICI employees. The retirement age for ICI foremen and other staff grades was 62. The thinking being that as soon as these newly pensioned off individuals became available to play mid-week the League would encourage them to join their league teams by making them suddenly qualified. So now you know.
There was a rule for many years which forbid age-qualified bowlers from playing in the League if they were still 'gainfully employed' whatever that meant. It was really a competition meant for pre-dominantly retired men and the rules supported that intent until the turn of the century when the term 'gainfully employed' was dropped and then the final step of changing the qualifying age to 60 in the last few years.
Even the Veteran's Inter-District qualifying age has now been dropped to 60 as captains struggle to fill the 16 places in their teams for another season of inter-town competition. Only the BCGBA and the Hickson Trophy competition maintain their 65 years of age introduction to competitive bowling for seniors or veterans.
Ken Brook (left) and Ken Baxter of Kirkheaton Cons with the Veterans League Division 2 winners trophy won by the club's 'A' team last season.