The decision to switch from pace to off-spin paid dividends for Tom Aitken with the allrounder lauded the Player of the Season when the Tamworth Junior Cricket Association celebrated another successful season.
The association won two of the three Northern Inland titles with the under-16s and Aitken's under-14s defeating Inverell in their respective finals.
Aitken was instrumental in the Blues' 145-run victory claiming a season best 3-1.
He also won the coaches award for the under-14s and was excited, and honoured, to take out the top accolade.
"It felt really good because I thought I'd been playing well," he said.
The Calrossy student, who started playing cricket with his older brother Will when he was seven, had during the off-season worked a lot on his batting, particularly trying to play a bit straighter.
But it was his bowling that really came to the fore.
He claimed 11 wickets for the season.
The majority of those came in the latter half of the season after he had decided to have a crack at bowling spin.
He finished with 11 wickets for the season, the majority of which came after he had decided to have a crack at bowling spin. Up until then he had only really bowled pace.
It was something Aitken decided off his own back.
"I wasn't bowling as fast, and was a bit small," he said.
After trying it out in the nets for a few weeks, he got his chance during the round game against Inverell. Things didn't start off well though.
"The start of that game I did get hit around a bit," Aitken recalled.
But after some words of wisdom from co-coach Donny Lewington, he started to find his rhythm.
"He told me to bowl a bit faster," he said.
"I thought I had to bowl a bit slower."
He went on to finish with three wickets and hasn't really looked back.
As his bowling has developed, Aitken said his confidence had really grown, the 13-year old transforming into a real strike bowler for North Tamworth.
Before last weekend's third grade semi-final, which the Redbacks went down in, Aitken had claimed three wicket hauls in his previous three matches.
"It put a new element into my game," he said.
It also took some of the pressure off. If he wasn't batting that well he had the confidence that he could contribute with the ball.
Aitken was "pretty happy" with how he performed with the bat for Tamworth, although the efforts of the top order meant he didn't have a lot of time in the middle. Often he was coming in in the latter overs.
He remained unbeaten in three of his six innings during the Northern Inland season, and tallied 121 runs all up with a top-score of 34.
Reflecting on his award, he gave a lot of thanks to Lewington and co-coach Peter Holmes.
"They helped out in getting this achievement," he said.
Tamworth Junior Cricket Association Award winners:
Under-12 Gold: Batting aggregate - Oliver Burrows (85 runs), batting average - Oliver Burrows (85 runs at 28.33), bowling aggregate - Josh Beard and Aidan Walker (6 wickets), bowling average - Josh Beard (6 wickets at 7.67).
Under-12 Blue: Batting aggregate - Fletcher Panton (105 runs), batting average - Fletcher Panton (105 runs @ 16.50), bowling aggregate - Fletcher Panton (10 wickets), bowling average - Fletcher Panton (10 wickets at 12.30).
Under-13s: Batting aggregate - Riley Gentle (176 runs), batting average - Blake Scicluna (125 runs at 41.7), bowling aggregate - Ben Sleeman (13 wickets), bowling average - Ben Sleeman (13 wickets at 14).
Under-14s: Batting aggregate - Nicholas Bukovac (275 runs), batting average - Logan Spinks (178 runs at 89), bowling aggregate - Ryan Stewart (14 wickets), bowling average - Ryan Stewart (14 wickets at 11.4).
Under-15s: Batting aggregate - Charlie Henderson (269 runs), batting average - Benjamin Livingstone (133 runs at 66.50); bowling aggregate - Deni Baker (11 wickets), bowling average - Benjamin Chick (10 wickets at 7.10).
Under-16s: Batting aggregate - Thomas Laird (213 runs), batting average - Thomas Laird (213 runs at 53.25), bowling aggregate - Landan Price (7 wickets), bowling average - Landan Price 97 wickets at 6.57).
Coaches awards: Under-12 Gold - Josh Thompson and Hayden Evans, Under-12 Blue - Archie McMaster and Coby Single, Under-13s - Charlie Doyle, Under-14s - Tom Aitken, Under-15s - William Doyle, Under-16s - Thomas Laird.
Five wickets: Landan Price v Tamworth Gold - 8-4-5-17
Centuries: Benjamin Livingstone v Inverell - 103, Thomas Laird v Gunnedah - 104