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Keeping wicket's broken all my fingers

By the look of him, David Morrison is anything but a safe pair of hands.

In 45 years of wicket keeping, the amateur legaue cricketer has broken every finger and both his thumbs. Bowled over: Every single finger and thumb has been broken during Dave Morrison's 45 year cricket career
Reluctant to seek medical attention for fear of losing his place in the team he would simply apply a frozen bag of peas and let nature take its course.

When doctors finally did get a chance to examine his hands three years ago - his thumb was so badly injured it needed to be pinned in place - they were so amazed they took scores of photographs and asked to use them in lectures.
Howazat! Dave won a trophy at the weekend but also got hit in the eye by a fast-bowler
"If you don't get it just right behind the stumps you can take quite a nasty knock to your hands," the 64-year-old father of two admitted.

"I didn't really like to let on that I was injured because I didn't want to lose my place in the team.

"In the old days you played for the love of the game. If you missed one match you couldn't be sure that you'd be picked for the next. Desires were different then.

"You went from one Saturday to the next, just in order to play.

"My fingers still work, more or less. I can bend them all from the first knuckle, although I do have a physio who manipulates the joints to soften the tissue."

He said most of injuries came when he was a young man.

"What you did when you were wicket keeper in those days was to soak the gloves, which were made from chamois leather, in cold water before you put them on.

"This moulded them to the shape of your hand and gave you a better grip. But the cold water made my fingers numb. I'd feel the impact of the ball but no pain... until much later on.

"Often I'd feel nothing for 25 or 30 overs. In those days the wickets were uncovered and the ball would fly out at all angles, the batsmen could do all sorts.

"It was far more difficult to catch the ball in the middle of the hand - so my fingers would take a battering."

The taxi driver, who refuses to wear a helmet during a match claiming it impedes his vision, said he had considered retiring from wicketkeeping in 2002 but couldn't bring himself to walk away. The injuries, he says, are just an occupational hazard.

"All of the bends and twists have come from knocks - but I've been to hospital just once, for the broken thumb - the doctors put a pin in that," he said.

"That happened on Bank holiday Monday, at Blackhall in County Durham. It was a misty day and difficult to see. I felt it hit the glove but I just carried on.

"It was only when I finished and got the hand into some ice water and my wife said I'd have to go to hospital. The doctor at Darlington Memorial Hospital said he'd never seen anything like my hands."

Last weekend Mr Morrison, from Scruton, North Yorkshire, picked up both a Darlington and District League championship medal and - in the shape of a serious shiner - a cricket trophy every bit as splendid.

"It's the third time it's happened on the last day of the season - just as my partner and I were going on holiday. Things aren't too good at home just now," he added.

He started his cricket career at East Cowton, in County Durham, at the age of 14. After playing for Darlington, Richmond and Northallerton in the North Yorkshire and South Durham league he joined Barton Cricket Club, in North Yorkshire.

"I've told him that his eyes have gone, his fingers have all been broken and he's far too old for wicket keeping, but he just won't listen," said his long-suffering partner, Valerie Tait, a 62-year-old former landlady. "Then again, he never did."

"A few weeks off and then he's back playing for Barton as if nothing's happened - then he creeps home on Saturday night with yet another black eye."

Martin Fairey, secretary of Barton Cricket Club, said: "He can't pick his nose straight - or anything for that matter - and trying to shake his hand is an experience. I'm astonished he's not even got a twinge of arthritis.

"He's a brilliant keeper. It's ironic that after all the year's he's carried on playing he should get caught out last Sunday by a 16-year-old leg spinner, who gives him a black eye.


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