For several years, the Central North open men's team has made do without two of its best players.
But this week, for the first time in roughly half a decade, Brendan and Michael Rixon will don the red and compete together once again in the Country Championships.
The pair, who are stalwarts of the North Tamworth Redbacks and hold their share of club records, were unavailable for representative duties in previous years due to personal circumstances.
But this season, the stars aligned to open the way for the brothers' return.
"With Tom Groth being involved [as coach], we've played a lot of cricket together over the years," Brendan said.
"It's good to give back a little bit. And it hasn't worked in family-wise with commitments over the last few years, so I guess now that it's in Tamworth is a benefit."
While Brendan has had begun more sedately in 2023/24 than usual, averaging 22 after three games, he has firmly established himself as one of Tamworth's best batters across more than 250 games for the Redbacks.
Michael, meanwhile, has enjoyed a prosperous start to the year with 102 runs at 51 and four wickets - however he will not play for Central North until Saturday due to work commitments.
But when they do walk out to bat, according to Brendan, they will not be putting too much pressure on themselves.
"I'm looking forward to it, it's a pretty exciting opportunity," he said.
"There's some guys in the team that I've played so much cricket against but haven't played with ... it'll be good to be in the same side as those guys and share the experience."
Round one of the Regional Bash will get the representative cricket underway in Tamworth from tomorrow, with Central North to play Greater Illawarra starting from 10am at No. 1 Oval.
It will be followed by the Northern Pool playoff and final from 2pm and 6.30pm respectively.
The Country Championships will then get underway on Friday with the first of three rounds.
Central North will play Newcastle on Friday, North Coast on Saturday, and Northern Illawarra on Sunday. All three games will be played at No. 1 Oval and
"It's a great level of cricket," Brendan said.
"It'll be good to play against those guys, they have pretty strong comps. It'll be a good level of cricket, if anyone's around and wants to come down to No. 1 or Riverside 1."
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