Former First Grade player Les Morgan has made the most significant century of his life – his 100th birthday.
Mr Morgan was born on 23 December 1917 and is the oldest surviving cricketer to have played at the elite level of the premier Sydney competition.
He played five seasons for the Western Suburbs’ club from 1937-38 to 1942-43 before he moved to Balmain (now Sydney) in 1943-44.
Mr Morgan captained Balmain for nine seasons and finished his playing career at the club in 1953-54.
This wonderful cricketer scored 3,968 runs at an average of 20.55 at a time when the game was still played on uncovered wickets. This tally included one century and 20 half-centuries.
The off-spinner also claimed 402 wickets at 20.19 with 24 five-wicket hauls to his name.
His best figures and top score came in the same match during the season of 1946-47. Mr. Morgan scored 133 in the first innings of that match against University at Birchgrove Oval.
He then took his career best figures of 6-11, coupled with 5-44 in the second innings, to complete the outright victory.
In a recent article for The Weekly Times, Chris Karas described Mr. Morgan as “a stylish batsman and ‘quickish’ off-spinner,” who played against some of Australia’s cricketing greats.
Among those who Mr. Morgan played against during his extensive First Grade career included legends the calibre of the late great Bill “Tiger” O’Reilly and Richie Benaud, and other Australian cricketing icons of that era like the late Stan McCabe, Sid Barnes, Keith Miller, Arthur Morris and Ray Lindwall, as well as the great left-arm Australian fast bowler of the 1950s and early 1960s, Alan Davidson.
Although, the list doesn’t end there, as Mr. Morgan also played during a period that involved former Test player and youngest ever captain of an Australian Test outfit, the late Ian Craig.
Former Test cricketers the late Graham Hole and Ron Saggers, and 82-year-old Ken Eastwood, were also among the opponents during his time at the elite of Sydney Grade cricket.
The former Balmain captain couldn’t believe he was playing amongst such company, Karas reported.
“Here I was playing with and against so many cricketing legends, it was such a privilege,” Mr. Morgan told The Weekly Times.
“With these top players involved you learned so much about your game and the art of captaincy,” he said.