BERKSHIRE Cricket stalwart Gary Loveday is to skipper England in the Over 50s World Cup which starts next month in Australia.

"Obviously, I am very pleased," he said. "To be asked to lead your country is a big honour."

His squad includes Finchampstead club colleague Andy Davis, who is one of two wicketkeepers, and Wokingham CC all rounder Simon Myles.

Loveday, who captained Finchampstead 2nds last season and is also the club's chairman, is making a second successive overseas trip, having played for England Over 50s in Cape Town last year.

"I know most of the guys from then and I have played a lot of cricket with Simon over the years. He is still one of the best players around and I think he will do well," said Loveday, who has previously toured Australia with the Cricket Club Conference.

Despite representing England, the players will have to pay for the privilege as there is no financial backing from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

So for the three-week trip, the cost is going to run into several thousands of pounds.

However, they are receiving some support from JBS, for the travel, Serious Cricket and Grey Nicholls for equipment.

Loveday, 54, commented: "It's not a cheap trip, but I am sure it will be worthwhile. We're quite happy to pay our way."

Starting on November 21, England will be playing Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Wales, New Zealand and Pakistan, whose squad includes a number of former Test players and will be captained by Ijaz Ahmed, who played 38 Tests and 32 one-day internationals for his country.

There will then be knock-out games to decide the third-to-eighth placings with the final taking place on Wednesday, December 5 at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.

BERKSHIRE county player and former Wellington College student Jack Davies has been given a two-year professional contract by Middlesex.

Davies, who played for Henley last season, said: “I am very proud to sign for Middlesex, delighted with the opportunity and am looking forward to very exciting times ahead.”

JOHN Reed, who quit umpiring in the Home Counties Premier League at the end of last summer, will be appointed Finchampstead CC's new secretary at the club's annual meeting next Monday.