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.