CSNI bring in Luke Georgeson for new campaign

Graeme McCarter has left CSNI. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo GeczoGraeme McCarter has left CSNI. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Graeme McCarter has left CSNI. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
CSNI have made their first big move ahead of the 2021 season by announcing the signing of New Zealand U19 international Luke Georgeson.

Georgeson, who holds an Irish passport, represented his country at the 2018 U19 World Cup in a competition where the hosts finished in eighth after losing out to England in a seventh-place play-off.

All-rounder Georgeson picked up impressive figures of 3/29 from his 10 overs in that game, giving CSNI and local cricket supporters a taste of what could be to come when he arrives from Wellington before the new season gets underway in April.

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The Stormont club have a rich history of New Zealander’s impressing in their colours, with the likes of Nigel Jones, Regan West and currently Marc Ellison all having success in Belfast and Director of Cricket Gary Wilson is delighted to have secured the services of Georgeson, who comes highly recommended.

“He text me out of the blue saying that he had been speaking to Jeremy (Benton), who had been really impressed with the way we were running things at the club,” he said.

“He was due to go to Merrion for the 2020 season but then Covid hit and no team really brought across their overseas players.

“He got in contact with me and it was pretty quick after that. We just had to check out a few things with the club and Union in regard to eligibility but it was all done quickly and smoothly.

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“I haven’t seen him play but he comes very highly rated from guys I know in New Zealand. We are excited about his personality as well as his cricket and he will be a really good fit at the club.”

The 21-year-old is a left-handed batsman who usually slots in at the top of the order but his versatility will give captain James Kennedy plenty of options with Ellison, Ross Adair, Stuart Thompson and Wilson already at his disposal.

His seam bowling will also be important after CSNI lost Graeme McCarter to Carrickfergus earlier this month.

“He’s a top order batsman but we haven’t decided where he will bat for us yet,” added Wilson.

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“We have lost Graeme McCarter’s overs so the fact that Luke is an all-rounder played a big part in why we went for him.

“We expect him to come in and make an impact. He comes in with a good pedigree having played for New Zealand U19’s and has a good record in league cricket there. We needed a couple of bodies in after losing Graeme and we were probably one or two short last year.

“It’s more about the type of bloke you want around as well. We have got really good reports about him and he’s coming over with no pressure to perform.

“He’s not coming in as an overseas player because he has an Irish passport so there’s no pressure and hopefully he can enjoy his cricket.”

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Irish international McCarter, who leads the Northern Knights bowling attack, has been one of the standout performers with the ball in the NCU in recent seasons.

His departure will certainly be felt but in Stuart Thompson, who recently lost his Ireland contract, and Matthew Foster, they have two men more than capable of stepping up and delivering. Georgeson is unlikely to be the last recruit for CSNI before the first ball is bowled in six month’s time but Wilson is already very happy with the squad.

“It’s disappointing for the club but Graeme made his decision and unfortunately we are the ones that have to lose out,” he said.

“The club will move forward and we feel we have recruited well with Luke and hopefully a couple more signings to come yet.

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“Graeme was one of the best bowlers in the NCU over the last five years so he would be a big loss to any side, but we do feel that we are well equipped in the bowling department.

“Fozzy has probably played 5-10 Inter-Pro games now so he’s pretty experienced and Thommo has played 70 or 80 times for Ireland, so we have those two and Luke alongside Ben Adair and Andrew Cowden. Even if we didn’t make any more signings, which we do hope to, we still have a great attack if everyone is fit and available.”

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