St George 1st Grade Player No.218 and Life Member No. 33 Kerry O’Keeffe has been made a life member at Cricket NSW at their annual meeting on Monday the 3rd of September.
O’Keeffe played 24 Tests (22 whilst a member of St George DCC) among 169 first class matches during his 14-year professional career.
This included 65 matches for NSW as player No. 546 and he also captained NSW during the 1975-76 season.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be granted Life Membership of Cricket NSW,” O’Keeffe said. “Each time I walked onto a first-class cricket field as a NSW player, I was conscious of the iconic state I was representing. “I would often sit in the home dressing room at the Sydney Cricket Ground with a baggy blue cap on my head and reflect on the many past greats to have worn that same cap, Bradman, O’Reilly, Davidson, Benaud, Simpson.”
O’Keefe was part of the Australian World Series Cricket squad between 1977 and 1979 and became an accomplished coach who mentored players at all levels.
He worked in the NSW pathway for many years as a specialist spin bowling coach and has been used by coaches at Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre.
A wildly popular commentator, he is also an author, having published five books on cricket.
“I was a proud “Blue Bagger” as a player and almost 40 years later as a coach and broadcaster, I remain just as proud. Again, thank you very much for this humbling award,” O’Keeffe said.
O’Keeffe was awarded Life Membership of St. George District Cricket Club in 1993 and the end of season presentation ceremony is known as the Kerry O'Keeffe Medal night in his honour. At the age of 15 O'Keeffe was playing 3rd Grade at St George by the age of 16 was elevated to 1st Grade in the season of 1965-66. Between this time and 1972 "Skull" had amassed 278 wickets at 16. In the season that St George won the first 1st Grade double (Premiership and Rothmans Cup) O'Keeffe claimed 73 wickets at just 15.
He returned to St George in 1992 as Club Coach. President of St George DCC said of O'Keeffe 'Kerry was rightly recognised as a member of the St George Team of the Century for his magnificent on field contribution for our Club. He has also been a wonderful contributor off the field and we are always pleased to see him walk through the Arthur Morris gates. We join with CNSW in thanking Kerry for his passion and commitment and congratulate him on this further honour.'
Jones described O’Keeffe as a proud NSW and Australian Cricketer during a tumultuous time in Australian cricket.
“O’Keeffe has been an astute observer as a coach and commentator, and, has brought pleasure to millions as one of the greatest entertainers in the game, on both radio and TV,” Jones said.
We take the opportunity to congratulate Kerry on the fantastic honour.