When Frank Lancaster gets started on something he sticks with it for the long haul.
The 64-year-old Howick man, affectionately known as "Bomber" in cricket circles, is coming up to his 34th season with Ellerslie Cricket Club and his 40th year working at the Tip Top factory in Mt Wellington.
He got roped into playing cricket at Ellerslie in the mid 70s by a workmate who needed an extra body.
"When I first started I wasn't exactly playing. I batted at 11 and didn't bowl."
After five seasons Bomber gave up the whites for the scoreboard and has been scoring the Ellerslie premier games ever since.
During the season he gives up his weekend and every Wednesday afternoon.
Watching good cricket and getting fresh air is what keeps him keen.
"It gets me out of the house. It keeps me young, to a certain extent at least. I enjoy watching good cricket - I always have."
He has ended up scoring the sons of the men who used to play when he first took up the job.
Lancaster says in the old days premier players rarely missed a game for their club, even if they were New Zealand representatives.
Another modern change is the emphasis on winning the first innings instead of the whole game.
Last season clubs introduced iPads to score matches but Lancaster still takes written notes - just in case the device fails. "It does make you start to feel your age a bit.
"I always swore that when those iPads came in, I was going to stop. But it's surprisingly easy once the thing's going."
Lancaster says the "family feel" of the cricket community is different to other sports. He doesn't drive and often gets a ride to games with various club members on the weekend.
"I've been saying it will be my last year for quite a while.
"But as long as I'm healthy and still capable of writing and concentrating I can see myself doing it," he says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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