THANKS LUKE: Marist Brothers wicket keeper-batsman Luke Collings has retired after 20 years in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket.
THANKS LUKE: Marist Brothers wicket keeper-batsman Luke Collings has retired after 20 years in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket. Marc Stapelberg

Collings calls it a day in LJ Hooker League

LISMORE cricket stalwart Luke Collings has called stumps on a 20-year career with Marist Brothers in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League competition.

Collings has been the wicketkeeper for Brothers since he was a teenager and was a handy middle-order batsman who could close out games in pressure situations.

He is modest about his achievements but whoever replaces him next season will have big shoes to fill.

"It was a bit emotional taking the tape off the fingers and putting the gloves away for the final time,” Collings said.

"I think I had limited ability as a player but I've been lucky enough to see some great players come and go.

"I've had the best seat in the house (behind the stumps) for 20 years and it is definitely the right time to walk away.”

Brothers hoped for a semi-finals appearance but came up short, finishing fifth after a washed-out game against Pottsville at the weekend.

Current captain Brad Cleaver was full of praise for the 37-year-old despite Collings downplaying his own contribution.

"To play in the top grade for 20 years is a pretty special achievement,” Cleaver said.

"He's the best wicketkeeper I've seen in the competition and a great person too.”

Only 50-year-old Casino bowler Al Nowlan has played more consecutive seasons in the LJ Hooker League ahead of Collings.

Collings played his final seasons with some promising junior players in Lachlan Barnsley and Kaleb Auld who look to have big futures in the sport.

He also teaches at the same primary school in Casino as the team's opening bowler Brendan Mitchell.

"I've always enjoyed the element of competition and it's kept me young the past few years,” Collings said.

"Some of the boys are more than 10 years younger than me but they'll always be my mates.

"A lot of people joke about the fact that we won a (Hooker League) premiership the year before I started and that I'm a bit of a curse.

"I played through some years where we came last but we've been competitive for a long while now and knowing my luck they'll probably go on and win it without me next season.”


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