Yamba under-14 batsman James Law-O’Keefe with the bat he scored 106 not out with.
Yamba under-14 batsman James Law-O’Keefe with the bat he scored 106 not out with.

Law-OKeefe and his golden blade

CLARENCE Valley cricket stores will be rubbing their hands together with dollar signs in their eyes after reading this.

Yamba under-14 cricket star James Law-O’Keefe belted his maiden century on Saturday against United at the Yamba Sports Complex.

Entering the season with a modest career-best score in the 30s, the 14-year-old puts his rapid improvement down to his new Grey-Nicolls blade.

“My previous all-time high score was about 33,” he said.

“It’s a big change. I got a new bat at the start of the season and it just started bringing me runs at the start of the season.

“This is the best season I have played.”

In just 20 overs the youngster helped his side reach 7-163 and brought up the 100-run milestone with his favoured pull shot.

But it was not all plain sailing as Law-O’Keefe first passed his season-high score of 54 before eyeing triple-figures.

“I just tried to play out the opening bowlers at the start,” he said.

“I played pretty safe to get my eye in and after that I started picking up the pace.

“My teammates were clapping me and I started to think I must have been close.

“Then I started to play a bit safer.”

The Gulmarrad resident also posted a 59 in North Coast representative cricket earlier in the campaign to show his club exploits were not a one-off.

Since first getting involved in cricket in under-8s, Law-O’Keefe has enjoyed a spell at Harwood before moving to Yamba two years ago.

Now that he has cracked the ton, he maintains the simple goal of ‘scoring a few more runs’.

“I don’t know (why I did so well). I just played really well on the day,” he said.

“They (my teammates) just clapped me and gave me a bit of a handshake when I came off.

“It felt good but it didn’t sink in for a while.

“I never thought I would score a hundred but it is great now.”

Law-O’Keefe is believed to be the first player in team to score a century this season.

In good news for bat-makers his strategy to success – with new blade in hand - is likely to be followed by fellow juniors eyeing an improvement to their game.

Law-O’Keefe is also a keen squash player in the off-season, a sport which maintains his skills.



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