BOWLER: Mitch Casey has returned for Hamilton-Wickham this summer despite a lifetime of injuries on and off the sporting field. Picture: Max Mason-HubersMitch Casey has broken his nose nine times.

He also has five metal plates in his head, most recently broke his ankle and once fractured his skull.

But a lifetime of injuries, suffered on and off the sporting field, hasn’t stopped the 36-year-old returning tocricketthis summer with Hamilton-Wickham.

And the recently married plumber, who lives in Newcastle, has relished the chance to be back in the middle by claiming seven wickets from six games.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing again and I’ve been bowling pretty well,” the right-arm paceman said.

Casey, the brother-in-law of former NRL player and now Huddersfield coach Simon Woolford,was born and raised in Young and arrived in Newcastle around sixyears ago via Canberra.

His first introduction to cricket in the Hunter region was with Merewether in the Newcastle City and Suburban competition, includingfigures of 4-37winning the A-grade grand final in 2012-13.

His most recent return to the sport last season featured a second premiership in the same competition, but this time with the Cricketers Arms Hotel taking 14 wickets in just a handful of appearances late in the piece.

In between times, outside plenty of rugby league with Western Suburbs, Caseylinked with Hamwicksfor one campaignin 2014-2015.

Most notably, besides a Tom Locker Cup one-day title and a semi-final showing in the district first-grade ranks, was playing in the NSW Country Cup decider at the SCG.

“It was unreal,” he said.

“I’d been lucky enough to play at Manuka [in Canberra] for a few rep things, but that [SCG] was something else.”

The Pumas went down to Merewether by just 10 runs that day almost four years ago.

Casey has now reconnected with many of those same teammates at Hamwickssuch as fellow bowler Tom Dwyer, injured batsman Rhys Hanlon and the Webber twins, Sam and Matt.

“A lot of theguys from that team are still around,” Casey said.

Hamwicks have only dropped the one match so far in 2018-19, last start against defending champions Wests, and sit in a four-way share of third on the overall standings.

“I think we can give it a fair crack,” Casey said.

“As long aswe can get out batting together, our bowling is good enough.”

In the meantime, the Pumas are chasing outright points against City at Passmore Oval. The hosts are 86 runs ahead with nine wickets in hand and 90 overs to play this Saturday.

Caseyalso hasa chance to collect a second Tom Locker crown when Hamwicksmeet Universityin the 40-over showdown at No1 Sportsground on December 9.