Player Profile - Giles Ecclestone
In the lead-up to the Over-50s Cricket World Cup 2020, we are looking at a player from each of the 12 participating nations who should play a key role for his team.
Expect big things from England batsman Giles Ecclestone.
In the 2019 ECB 50+ County Championship – the world’s largest, longest established and biggest Over-50s league – Ecclestone dominated in his first year of participation. He scored 681 runs in just seven matches for Essex at an average of 97.29, with three 50s and a massive 213 against Hertfordshire.
That amazing innings came off 128 balls, with 19 fours and 8 sixes, and is believed to be the highest score ever in official Over-50s cricket.
Unsurprisingly selected for England to play against Wales, the left-handed Ecclestone then stroked an effortless 70 not out to guarantee his spot for the World Cup.
Was this a fluke season? Hardly. The previous season he had averaged 58 for his club side, Saffron Walden, in the competitive East Anglia Premier League, and in 2016 he averaged 64. In fact, you have to go back to 2011 since he last failed to average above 40 in a season (and even then it was still a respectable 36).
Born in Surrey, Ecclestone played minor counties cricket for Cambridgeshire on and off between 1989 and 2004. He helped them to victory in two national finals at Lord’s, which he considers among his career highlights. Other highlights were winning the National Club Championships and winning the Man of the Match award for 99* in the final.
He played 13 List-A matches for Cambridgeshire, Essex and Natal Country Districts (during a season in South Africa), with a best of 92.
Ecclestone has been reinvigorated by Over-50s cricket. In an interview with Scott Stratton for the England Counties 50+ Facebook group, he said: “It has undoubtedly given me a new lease on life in cricket. I realised I had fallen out of love with club cricket due to being so much older than everyone else and I simply wasn’t on the same wavelength as all the youngsters.”
At the World Cup he will be looking to assert his presence at the top of the order for England. They could arguably do with this, given that their opening partnerships at the 2018 World Cup were 28, 21, 0, 2, 6, 14, and 0.
England should have a much stronger top order this time, with the likes of Ecclestone, David Snellgrove, Mark Alleyne and Sultan Mahmood giving the line-up a very solid look.
With a massively tough pool that includes South Africa and Pakistan - both chock-a-block with stars - Ecclestone and his team will have to call on all their experience to make it through to the semis.
Impact: Ecclestone’s ability to score big runs at a good clip against skilful bowlers will be a significant boost for England. With several excellent batsmen around him, he should have the freedom to play his natural game – and that could spell trouble for opposing teams.