Monday, August 28th, 2023


Pace bowler Charlie Morris has looked back over a decade of sterling service for Worcestershire which has sadly been curtailed by a knee injury and said: “I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave their all on the pitch.”

Worcestershire are staging a gala dinner in honour of Charlie in the Chestnut Marquee on Friday, September 1. Tables can be bought by clicking here.

He played his final match for the club in July 2022 when Worcestershire defeated Middlesex in a thrilling LV=Insurance County Championship match at Merchant Taylor’s School.

Charlie ended his career with 223 first class wickets at 29.54 and played a key part in the 2014 promotion campaign and also helping the Rapids to reach the final of the 2019 Vitality Blast.

He showed all his resilience and determination in battling back from having to remodel his action over two challenging years.

But, aside from being a fine bowler, Charlie will always be remembered as the perfect team man who was respected by team-mates, coaches and supporters alike and a highly popular and humble person.

He said: “I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave their all on the pitch, that never took for granted playing for Worcestershire and having a career as a professional cricketer.

“I’d like to be remembered as someone who was determined and gave my all for the best of the team and someone who has cherished every moment of being able to play for 10 years and have so much to be grateful for.

“By my standards, I feel like I’ve had a modest career compared to a lot of people. I look at Joe Leach, and he has taken nearly 450 first class wickets, and Alan Richardson (Head Coach) who finished on 569.

“I’ve immensely proud of what I’ve managed to achieve but it’s certainly been modest by those standards. But what I’ve managed to achieve, is still more than I thought when I was younger and I wanted to be a professional cricketer.

“It was a dream and just to have played one game would have been amazing, so to have been around the club for 10 years, and managed to have some success on the pitch, and equally be part of some special moments over the last 10 years, is equally something I will look back on fondly for the rest of my life.

“I think looking back the last game I played, at Merchant Taylors, probably just sums up everything I’ve loved about playing and also playing for Worcestershire.

“It was 35 degrees, I bowled every over up the hill, we lost the toss and bowled first and we beat them in three days and Ed Pollock played an unbelievable knock.

“Everything about that fixture I loved, the grind, putting in a shift, coming off at lunch and having bowled a couple of spells and being pretty exhausted and as the day went on with the heat, and going again, and winning in three days and celebrating as a side.

“For that to be my last game for Worcestershire, I’m very fond of that and it summed up everything I enjoyed about being a professional cricketer, winning as a team, trying to do the hard yards and putting my hand up where I can.

“I’ve not always done that in terms of executing perfectly but I’ve always given my heart and soul into everything and can honestly look back and say I’ve haven’t left anything on the park.”

Morris was drafted into the side after Richardson announced his retirement during the winter of 2013-2014 and says it is about seizing the opportunity when anyone leaves the club during any era.

He said: “When unfortunate things happen, and Richo left a massive hole back then, and more recently two or three players are leaving which is sad, it always presents opportunity and that’s exciting as well, and where the focus needs to be.

“As one door shuts another opens. We can sometimes catastrophise the exodus of people but actually this is such an amazing to play, it will always attract good players and we’ve got great talent coming through and we will be fine.

“We’ve got great people at the helm and Dolly (Brett D’Oliveira) is an outstanding leader and the club will be a good place.

“In 2014, it was a bit of a whirlwind. I remember getting the call from Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) and he said unfortunately Richo has retired, we’ve got a space on the Abu Dhabi pre-season tour, would you like to come. I was at university and I said ‘absolutely.’

“I remember going out and be able to spend 10 days in the UAE, hot weather training, first time I’d been away on a cricket tour. I remember throwing everything at it and from being a Uni student to going away with professional staff was just brilliant.

“I managed to put some performances together and, when the first game of the season came, I got selected and made my debut with Tom Kohler-Cadmore down at the Ageas Bowl. I managed to put in an okay performance, got a few wickets, and we were well ahead in that game against a good Hampshire side but it rained.

“That was the start of just a whirlwind of a season which kind of snowballed. You start off your career and you don’t have much confidence because you are not sure whether you quite have it to make it at that level. You are thrown in the deep end and have to rely on the experiences you’ve had to date to feel you belong there.

“All of a sudden, you have a little bit of success and it starts to build and the next thing I knew it was September and it had gone pretty well and we got promoted after one of the most historic matches ever in Worcestershire’s history, with Jack Shantry’s match.

“To be out there on the outfield with him and Leachy (Joe Leach) at the time, who also had his breakthrough season, and next thing we knew it was promoted, was awesome and such an amazing start to my career and brilliant memories.”

After 50 plus wickets that season, Charlie also made his mark with 44 wickets in Division One.

He said: “Started well and unfortunately ran out of steam a bit. We played a three seamer attack for most of that season and it took its toll physically and so got quite worn out by the end and didn’t quite kick on from the start I had. But it was a great learning curve and play against some top players and be challenged.”

Charlie admits that he went through some challenging times when working on remodelling his action and is grateful for the support of Alan Richardson who was then Bowling Coach.

He believes all the hard work paid off and that he returned to playing as a better bowler.

He said: “It was really difficult. I had to come to terms with firstly the stigma of it. It was never an intentional thing to have an illegal action. It was a breakdown technically and down to timing and all sorts.

“I had asked the question all the way up through my early days, just wasn’t quite sure, but it was never an issue, never called, and I found out when I finished the season and got invited down to Loughborough for the England Pace Programme, doing the bio-con action testing and it was from that it got picked up I needed to do some work. It wasn’t in a match situation.

“It was a tough period because I’d had a solid start to my career and all of a sudden had the complete confidence ripped out of me and having to do painstaking work to try and take a few degrees out of my bowling arm.

“I wasn’t enjoying cricket at the time looking back. Even when I got back playing, it still took 18-24 months to get back up to performing. I had an expectation of where I wanted to be based on the first two years of my career and I wasn’t meeting that.

“I had to take the pressure off myself and give myself time. What kept me going was I don’t like to give up on anything, keep persisting, chipping away, and the rewards will come, and also a bit of perspective.

“I remember telling myself that I was still a professional cricketer being able to do what I loved and there are far bigger issues in the world than having to take a few degrees out of your bowling action and that perspective helped me see the good in the situation and the positives and keep pushing.

“I’m so pleased I did because I could have quite easily thrown the towel in at times. I remember getting up at 6.30am, going down to New Road and bowling into an empty net and it was mentally exhausting and stripped all the confidence and self belief out of me and whether I should be a professional cricketer.

“Having got through that process, and got back in the side, and they were better years than my first two in terms of my average and strike rate and ability as a bowler.

“I went from a bowler who looked to hit the pitch and seam it to someone who could swing the ball. It made a better bowler and I definitely had more enjoyable and best years from that point on.

“I would literally go back and watch every single ball I bowled in every spell of every game in the evening to check on my bowling action.

“I had such a great relationship with Richo and he was such a support and I’d always be checking in with him. I just have so much trust in the guy and he’d say things are looking great.

“Everytime there was a TV game I’d have anxiety around my action, if it breaks down, is it going to be end, but as time went on, and I reviewed stuff, I became more confident and settled and was happy things were okay.”

Charlie says he is still fully coming to terms with having to hang up his spikes but is looking with great enthusiasm to what the future may hold.

He said: “I don’t think it has fully sunk in, and I don’t think it will until there is a more parting of the ways in a more formal way come October.

“It took a few weeks to process coming to the end of my career when I told the guys back in March-April based on the fact my knee was not playing ball!

“That was really difficult and emotional but I’m really grateful to the club for allowing me to stay on and help for the season because it has been really nice to be around the environment and the club and offer my help when I can and gradually transition out.

“To say I’ve fully come to terms with it would be probably wrong because when the winter comes, and I don’t drive back through the New Road gates, that will be the time when I come to terms with it again. It’s probably like grieving, it comes in waves, and it’s just lovely to be around everyone.

“Have the lads been a help? Massively. I’ve said it so many times in the past that the changing room is amazing at Worcestershire and we all get on so well, have got such a good bunch.

“I’ve got such good friends, Joe, Brett, Jake, everyone in the changing room I’d like to think I get on with. They’ve been a real help and I haven’t felt like a spare wheel at all over the last few months.

“I haven’t played a game for over a year now. I’ve not felt out of place once and that’s down to the guys, Alan and all the coaching team being so welcoming and I’m very grateful for that.”

Morris added: “No plans for cricket? Not the imminent future. One of the options I could have to looked to do was to continue down a coaching role. I owe so much to cricket but equally I know there is a big wide world out there and I want to explore what that looks like and get away from the game.

“I’m sure those experiences will be brilliant and exciting and I’m looking forward to this next chapter of life and feel that the game will always be there, and I will always keep my hand in with some coaching. You never know, in time I may find my way back into the professional game in some capacity.

“Certainly that is well truly for the future. I’ve a degree in Sports Science and am currently doing some project management qualifications.”