A FORMER Denton cricketer is showing the Australians a thing or two on the wicket as his star rises.The scenery – and weather – for Luke Sumner is a bit different from Denton CC’s Egerton Street ground, as well as Micklehurst, Ashton and making his senior debut at the age of eight!
Having taken most of his 65 wickets in 2016 for Denton’s second XI, the 19-year-old finds himself as one of the main strike bowlers for Victorian side Moe.
He is their leading wicket taker and they currently sit top of the ‘B’ Grade division of the Latrobe Valley and District Cricket League.
And he wants to make it into the English county game – either as a player, coach or umpire.
Luke, who flew out to Australia in September, said: “So far, I’ve really enjoyed my time at Moe. The club’s great, the facilities are good enough to host international cricket and the people are really supportive too!
“We were top of the league after five games and remained unbeaten. I took 10 wickets for 97 runs at an average off 9.70.
“There’s still a long way to go with a lot of hard work to do but it’s nice to rewards early in the season.
“I’m aiming high, which is to hopefully contribute to Moe winning the league along with my own goals of picking up some individual bowling awards.
“I’m all about the team and if I can get a bit lucky and get extra rewards then it’s an added bonus!”Luke, who turns 20-years-old on Sunday, December 15, comes from a sporting family as his mother, Tracey, was once a professional weightlifting champion in Spain and father, Geoff Greenop, played cricket for Lancashire’s second XI.
The former overseas club professional in Holland and Zimbabwe and club professional at an array of different clubs still captains Lancashire’s Over-60s second team at the age of 73 after 60 seasons in the game.
Luke’s pathway – which has taken him more than 10,500 miles from home – was also moulded in Wales, with his mum, step-father Rob and brothers Josh and Daniel, playing for Llandudno and the Eryri (North-West Wales) County junior squads.
All that has been achieved against a backdrop of depression and anxiety, which he has suffered with since secondary school.
He added: “Throughout the years, I’ve had a tough time. Luckily for me, I’ve got an amazing, supportive family, some amazing friends that have always stuck by me, some under-rated doctors, mentors and therapists.
“I’ve had some real lows and I’ll never be able to repay the debt to everyone that’s been there to help.
“The past 18 months have been a real struggle and seen some of my lowest, darkest times but because of my Australian fiancée Jemma and some of her amazing friends, I’ve managed to overcome those demons and get back to working hard towards achieving my dreams.
“I feel like I owe it to them all to never give up and reach my goals after all the support they’ve given me.”
Luke returned to Llandudno for the 2018 season, where he made his highest score of 78 and took his then-personal best bowling figures of 7/6 off 6.4 overs.
Long before then, though, he made his mark in the senior game – making his debut as 12th man for Ashton second XI at Middleton as an eight-year-old.
Last September saw Luke head to Australia, first to play for Yallourn North CC in Victoria, where he was selected for the senior and youth league representative teams.
The miles kept on coming as he played the first half of this year’s English season at Micklehurst before returning to Ashton.
Despite the switch, he still managed to take about 50 wickets at an average of less than 10 and also improved his best ever figures by achieving 8/67 from 12.4 overs to win Micklehurst a hard-fought game.
Now he is impressing at Moe, which hosts a televised Australian Big Bash League fixture between the Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes three days before Christmas Day, Luke has plans both on and off the wicket.
He is also aiming for the ‘A’ Grade bowling awards while working towards his coaching and umpiring qualifications to open up other opportunities for himself in the future.
Away from cricket, he hopes to grow his web design and digital marketing company, TFMediaUK, alongside having part-time jobs elsewhere and operating his own social media channels.
Top of his list, however, is getting picked up by a county side in his homeland but one day he may return to Egerton Street to follow in the footsteps of his father, who currently holds the club season record of 96 wickets at an average of 8.6 runs per wicket.
He said: “I’m working hard to grow my business and gain experience to set up a platform and a back-up plan if cricket doesn’t become my profession.
“I also hope to keep pushing myself and improving by working my way through the standards of league cricket and building a reputation for myself.
“My life goal has always been playing the highest standard of cricket I can, which I hope one day could be to play for England if I keep on working hard enough and manage to catch a break, but I’d be happy at whatever level knowing that I’ve reached my potential and I’ve got no regrets.
“If playing doesn’t work out, then I’d also like to see where coaching and/or umpiring could take me.”