The last few weeks have been eventful for Luke Georgeson, but the CSNI all-rounder hasn’t let any of it affect his performances on the field.
23-year-old Georgeson – born in Wellington – signed a central contract with Cricket Ireland in early-April, which was greeted with great excitement from supporters, but 17 days later it was announced that the contract had been terminated by mutual consent. He would likely have slotted in at the top of the order alongside Paul Stirling in the 50-over format in what is Ireland’s busiest summer, but an ambition to represent New Zealand remained.
“I came to the conclusion that my heart is set on going back home and trying to play for New Zealand,” he said. “There is no way I could fully commit and look at guys in the eye and say I’m fully committed because my heart is set on playing for New Zealand. It was extremely difficult – probably the toughest couple of weeks I’ve experienced. People have worked so hard for me over here and they have bent over backwards for me, so it was the hardest part telling those guys that have worked so hard that it wasn’t going to happen. That’s the part I still feel bad about, but the support has been overwhelming. Nobody has been angry and it’s all been supportive and understanding, and I’m extremely grateful for that.”
Georgeson has fully embraced life in the NCU and fit seamlessly in at Stormont, scoring 880 runs at an average of 55 combined with 33 wickets in his debut season. Although he ultimately won’t be pulling on the green of Ireland, the country will always hold a special place in his heart.
“I have loved every moment of being in Ireland,” he added. “It has been a tricky two weeks but seeing everybody again that are involved in cricket has been awesome. Ireland will always hold a special place in my heart, but my heart is currently set on playing for New Zealand. This definitely won’t conclude my involvement – I’m dedicated to doing whatever I can for Civil Service and being involved for the Knights if that allows. I will always be watching the guys in the Ireland team who I have become quite close with and wish them all the best.”
While not many would have been aware of the inner turmoil and what was going on, Georgeson was still churning out the runs for his team and scored 106 in the season opener against Instonians. He followed it up with 54 and 35 in defeats to Lisburn and North Down respectively, leading the way for a young CSNI side which takes on Woodvale today.
“It was good to put everything to one side and go out and play that game against Instonians,” he said. “I don’t know how I played a game of cricket that day because I wasn’t in the greatest of headspaces, but it was great to put a performance in and contribute to a win. The best part about it was we had a few young guys make massive contributions. Civil Service are a club that pride ourselves on promoting the youth so to see the likes of Finn (Lutton) and Harry (Dyer) bowling us to victory was very cool. With this new format, every game is important so the next few weeks are going to be critical in terms of the way the season is going to pan out.”
Georgeson formed a hugely effective opening partnership with Ross Adair last season, but after Adair’s departure to CIYMS, he has a new partner. That is none other than former Ireland captain William Porterfield, and Georgeson has enjoyed having someone of his experience involved.
“It has been fantastic,” he said. “He has a wealth of knowledge and the thing that struck me was his attitude towards it. He was right into it and he’s a total professional. Any time you can spend around a guy like that is awesome. We also have guys like Stuart Thompson and Gary Wilson who are great guys to be around and talk cricket with, so we are very lucky.”
With Adair leaving and the irregularity of Gary Wilson being involved due to his promotion to Cricket Ireland’s coaching staff, it feels like more importance has been placed on Georgeson to perform. He doesn’t see it that way though and believes it will require a team effort with players chipping in at different times if CSNI are to be successful this season.
“Losing Ross was massive and we were disappointed to see him go, but he made a call and we have to back him on that,” he added. It provides opportunities for other players. I don’t think there’s any extra pressure on me, but we just have to fill the gaps that Ross and Gary leave and guys are going to have to step up at different times. We’ve seen that games aren’t necessarily won by pro’s going out and hitting massive hundreds, but it’s the 20’s and 30’s that can help get you across the line. We are going to be playing as a collective rather than one or two guys, which is exciting. There’s going to be chances for guys throughout the season rather than relying on one or two guys.”