Luke Morrissey is the owner of Penrith first grade player number 142 having made his debut during the 1998/99 season.
A wicket keeping batsman Luke took around 450 first dismissals with the gloves on and scored 6,029 first grade runs at an average of 25.76. He hit 4 centuries and 30 half centuries.
For the club Luke scored 6,861 runs and in 2009/10 and 2012/13 was awarded Penrith Limited Overs Player of the Year. He also won the Penrith’s clubs wicket keeping award 4 times.
Let’s find out more about Luke’s journey in the game
What year you were born?
Can you remember you first game of cricket?
I played for the mighty Colyton St Clair Colts in the Penrith District. Under 9s. I was about 7. We got flogged and I didn’t do much. I remember the coach telling me to go and put the gloves on to keep and I went and put on batting gloves. That was the start of my keeping journey.
Tell us briefly about your cricketing journey? Where you’ve played, clubs you’ve played for?
I started playing at 7 for Colyton and played for them until I was 14 when I started playing grade cricket for Penrith. I played 22 seasons for Penrith (18 in 1st Grade) before retiring due to work. I had a season with Hall Bower Cricket Club in Huddersfield and a season with Stewart’s Melville Cricket Club in Edinburgh. I am currently playing a few games for Campbelltown Collegian’s Cricket Club where my son’s play – the home ground is also based where I live which is handy.
In which grade and at what age did you make your debut in grade cricket?
I debuted in 5th Grade vs Petersham at Glebe Oval. We won outright and I got a couple of catches but didn’t bat.
If you can share with our audience, how would you describe yourself as a cricketer?
Wicketkeeper that turned myself into a batsman.
At what age did you make your first-grade debut in grade cricket and can you remember how you performed in debut?
I debuted at 16 on Day 2 of a game. We played Bankstown at Howell Oval, Penrith. They had Kevin Roberts, Corey Richards, Wayne Holdsworth, Nathan Bracken, David Freedman, Scott Thompson and Ken Hall to name a few! I got 11 not out and took two catches. We lost outright but the game was more memorable for our club legend Paul ‘Stabba’ Thomas refusing to shake Nathan Bracken’s hand at the end of the game, because Bracken broke his ribs after peppering him with bumpers. Stabba missed a few weeks cricket as a result.
What was your highest score in senior cricket? For which club and where?
105 not out for Penrith v Randwick-Petersham at Coogee Oval in 1st Grade. I scored 4 hundred’s in 1st Grade all not out between 101 not out and 105 not out.
Who have been the best three fast bowlers you have played against?
Steven Green and Trent Copeland were difficult with a new ball anywhere, let alone on a green top at Hurstville. Moving the balls both ways and at you every ball.
Doug Bollinger – played against Dougie a few times. Quick. Great bumper and even better yorker. Legend of a bloke.
Mark Cameron – Scud bowled very quick. Didn’t see the ball until it was right in front of you. Big fast outswingers and a scary bouncer. Took 7-20 at Howell one day bowling us out for 50. Very good test of character facing up to him.
Honourable mentions: Daniel McLauchlan, Nic Bills, Andrew Staunton, Ian Moran and Grant Lambert.
Who has been the best three spinners you have played against?
Greg Matthews – got the ball to do so much. Drift, drop, spin. Bowling in full NSW jumper and vest in 40 degree heat. Great theatre.
Stephen O’Keefe – just so accurate. Always a chance to get you LBW or bowled. Never knew where your next run was coming from.
Will Somerville – Tall and accurate. Hard to get down the wicket to due to his height. Turned the ball enough but would also get onto you quite quickly. Hard to score runs off. Great bloke.
Who were the fastest bowlers you kept to?
Doug Bollinger playing for Sydney West in the State Cup. I was on the 30m circle and taking them around my head. It was very quick.
Pat Cummins when he first came on the scene bowling thunderbolts before he got injured. The ball kissed the wicket and hit the gloves hard.
Michael Goldsmith bowled some very fast spells, particularly when he was angry – which was a lot of the time.
Pat Cummins bowling for Penrith
Who was the best spinner you had the good fortune to keep to?
Probably Dale Turner. Very competitive and talented. Got lots of drift and turn and deceived batsman with his pace well. Took a lot of wickets when he came back from Queensland. Honourable mentions would be Pat Jackson, Liam Zammit, Jared Burke and Matthew Halse from a one-day perspective.
Who was the best fast bowler you kept to?
Joshua Lalor. Swung the ball both ways at pace and made many a batsman look silly.
Can you recall a catch or stumping that still fills you with pride and puts a smile on your face?
I took a one-handed diving catch to dismiss Michael Slater off Luke Murphy one day at Village Green. Unfortunately, it was memorable because Luke over-stepped the mark and it was not out!
I clearly remember a semi-final at Howell v Sydney Uni. We got skittled on Day 1 and at the end of the day had them 2 for not many when Kevin Petersen strode to the crease. He had scored a lot of runs throughout the year and hit Dale Turner over mid-wicket for 4 first ball and again second ball. Third ball Dale slowed it up, he missed it and I stumped him. Dale then ran circles around him telling him where the sheds were following him off the field. Classic Turner! We were in the game at 3 for not many but that was the last wicket we got as Danny Waugh and Shane Stanton put on about 300 the next day.
Who has been the best 3 batsman you’ve played against?
Greg Mail – just did not play bad shots. Strong all around the wicket. Lots of bowlers were happy when he retired.
David Dawson – hard to get out. Wore the bowlers down with concentration and skill.
Ian Moran – always scored runs against us. Strong all around the wicket. Loved to dominate the spinners.
Who played the best innings you’ve seen firsthand playing with or against?
Nathan Pillon and Nic Maddison scored Double Hundreds against us and they were impressive. Maddison’s was two days after being dropped from the shield team and he got 225 not out in quick time without giving a chance at Caringbah Oval.
I would say the best would have been Kevin Geyer who got a 160 odd in a One Day game at Howell after going in, in the 28th over. Some seriously clean ball striking. A poor bowler (name escapes me) on debut bowled a dot ball first ball of his first over then got hit for 30 off the next 5 balls.
Can you recall a moment where you thought ‘wow’ this is a step up from the norm in grade cricket and had to really knuckle down to get through the challenge, can you describe the experience?
I remember playing Sydney at Drummoyne. Neil Maxwell was bowling at one end, telling me he was going to kill me, and Simon Cook was at the other end, laughing at me as I played and missed. Maxy could make the ball talk and made you play every ball. And Cookie was the first bowler that bowled to me where I didn’t see the ball until it bounced. Quickest I’d faced at that point in my career.
Another time facing Shawn Bradstreet and Mark Cameron in a semi at Manly Oval. Bradstreet was reversing the ball at a good pace and in my face the whole time. ‘Scud’ was bowling quick. Liam Zammit and I held on for a draw to get us through to the final the following week. Seriously different level than I was used to.
Who was the best wicket keeper you’ve seen firsthand playing against?
Brad Haddin. He did everything perfectly.
Mark Atkinson standing up to the stumps to everyone was also unbelievable.
Who are the two players you admired most in terms of skills and competitive spirit in the competitions you played?
From opposition teams.
Ian Moran. Quality in all aspects of the game. Always contributing. Should have played a lot more 1st class cricket. He became a good friend throughout the years.
Grant Lambert. Just a different level than everyone else in Premier Cricket. Hit me in the head a few times with his bumper that was significantly quicker and extremely hard to get out playing shots all around the ground.
From my own teams.
Dale Turner – most competitive bloke I played cricket with. Ridiculous amount of talent with bat ball and in the field. Great cricket brain and loved being in the fight – most of the time he was trying to start the fights as well!
Brett Newman – played 2nd XI cricket. Greatly underestimated all-rounder that complimented our attack beautifully. Loved batting under pressure and often counter attacked. Great in the field. Loved the contest and always backed himself and his team-mates. Great bloke.
Would have to include Warren Buttigieg as well. Angry hairy short medium pacer who would love sledging blokes – even if they were hitting him back over his head. Loved the contest and thrived on banter with the opposition. Great mate.
Who was the best captain you had the good fortune to play with? And if you could add a few words to why.
Played under some good captains. Probably Ron Halse/Rod ‘Scorch’ Evans in my first full season of 5th Grade were the two I learnt the most from. We won Green Shield and Fifth Grade in the same season and they showed a group of young cricketers, who ended having a fair bit of success together, the ropes of premier cricket and playing against men.
Who has been your funniest team-mate?
Too many to note. Peter Betros, Kevin Geyer, Paul Goldsmith, Warren Buttigieg, Max MacNamara, Michael Wholohan and Kieren McDonald all deserve a mention.
Can you recall some banter or an exchange on the cricket field that still makes you laugh today?
I had a number of funny moments. One that stands out is Dale Turner sledging Margaret (the first female umpire I saw in my time in 1st grade). Cameron Eve nicked one on 37 at Mark Taylor Oval in a two day match. It was a big edge I caught almost in front of first slip and she said not out. Evie got 137 and at the end of every over Dale would walk past Margaret and let her know how many runs she had cost us – ‘That’s #$%^& 35 you have cost us Margaret”.
Or at Rosedale we were playing with a very short boundary and a very long boundary. Michael Goldsmith had a water bottle behind him on the field, still 30 m from the boundary fence. Umpire Laurie Borg told Michael he had to move it from the field. Michael then booted it full of water as far as he could telling Laurie what he thought. It still wasn’t over the fence and Laurie asked him to go and get it again and remove it from the field. Our whole team were in hysterics. His next over was quick – none in the batter’s half.
Most memorable dismissal in cricket?
Playing Sydney Uni at Howell we were 5 or 6 for not many. I walked to the crease facing Stuart MacGill and first ball punched him off the back foot through mid-off. Unfortunately, my elbow in my follow through hit the peak of my cap and rolled it down my back and onto the stumps. I was out hat hit wicket. I was good mates with a lot of the Sydney Uni players and they as well as the umpires and the Penrith boys were in hysterics. A photo was taken at the exact moment of the dismissal which appeared in the canteen of Sydney Uni for a long time. Something I’d rather forget but my mates always remind me of.
Who was your childhood hero?
Who’s your favourite cricket commentator?
What was your favourite ground to play at?
Was there a particular team you especially looked forward to playing against? And if you could add a few words to why.
Hated them all equally. Did enjoy playing away at Coogee and Manly as it meant we got to go to the beach.
What do you enjoy most about playing cricket?
The mates you make, the stories you here and the competition on the field.
Luke Morrissey in the field
What’s been your most memorable moment in cricket?
There have been so many. I have won 5 competitions with Penrith – 1st Grade One-Day Premiership, 2nd Grade, PG’s, 5th Grade and Green Shield as well as a National U/17 Championship.
Hitting the winning runs in the 1st Grade One Day final was good and winning the inaugural Kevin Cunningham Medal for player of the Green Shield Final was also an honour.
If I had to pick I would have to say taking my one and only 1st Grade wicket. Adam Turrell (whose dad Allan coached me in the NSW U/17s) caught Chris Withers at Howell Oval. He tried to hit me out of the park (rightly so) and managed to hit it half-way to the long boundary at Howell. A goal for my entire 1st grade career was achieved!
What’s the best win you’ve been involved with?
In my last season we were 8-30 against Campbelltown in a semi-final. Ryan Smith and Matt Halse put on a 180 and we got to 220. Campbelltown were 1 for a lot. We ended up beating them by 1 or 2 runs. Great win.
Who are the three players from your playing days at the top of the list for a Saturday afternoon barbeque?
Anyone from my punters club- all cricketers. Definitely better at drinking than punting.
What are your hobbies?
Family, Coaching/Watching Cricket and Golf when time allows.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Concentrate on the process and the result will take care of itself.
Presentation to Luke Morrissey on reaching 6,000 run milestone in first grade
What is your current occupation?
I am a teacher. My current role is Director of Boarding at St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown.
Are you still involved in cricket and if so, in what capacity?
I am involved from a coaching perspective. I coach my son’s Under 12 team and the College 1st XI team. I have also been fortunate to be involved in the NSW Pathways program and I look forward to this continuing post COVID. I am also playing a few games for Campbelltown Collegians when work allows.
If you were running Cricket NSW what would your 2 priorities be to ensure cricket in the state remained strong and successful on and off the field?
The first is probably more a Cricket Australia directive. I would love to see a proper 2nd XI cricket competition and Colts competition again. I believe cricket was at its strongest prior to the introduction of the current format with limits on players over the age of 23 etc. There is no incentive to stay in the game when you get to 25/26 anymore as the system effectively tells you, you won’t make it if you haven’t made it by that age. I believe this is wrong and if the old system allowing the best players (no matter age) to be picked in a meaningful 2nd XI competition was reintroduced, more older players would stay in the game. The motivation to continue to try and play for your state would entice this. The Colts competition would still develop the best of the up-and-coming players and if they are good enough they would be picked in 2nd XI or for NSW anyway. I am against the constant push for youth.
I would also love to see more state players playing regular club cricket. When I first started playing, I was playing a state player pretty much every weekend in premier cricket. Towards the end of my career, it was rare to play against one. As a captain I would get told – ‘So and So can play but can only bowl two spells of 4 overs’ or ‘He has to play next Wednesday so he is being rested’. I understand that they get paid to play and they need to be managed, however if you want a stronger competition and cricket to improve, they should be playing as much as they can.