A year off can do someone a world of good.
If ever proof of that statement was needed, it can be found in Lincoln Peters.
The North Tamworth Redbacks allrounder chatted with the Leader, beverage in hand, after the local first grade cricket on Saturday. He'd just played a pivotal role in snatching victory for his side, having blown away Bective East to the tune of 5-19.
Of course, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face. And while he was pleased with his performance, Peters was primarily just happy to be back among mates at North Tamworth.
"I didn't play last year, I took a year off," Peters said.
"I just wanted a break ... to see if I'd get that feeling of missing it."
Last year was one of only a handful the 32-year-old has had off since he took up cricket as a child.
And though he appreciated having more time to spend with his partner during the summer months, he "didn't take too much convincing" when this season rolled around.
"I was pretty keen to get back into it," Peters said.
Now into his 30s, Peters is at the age where most pace bowlers begin to recover more slowly, feel aches and pains more readily, and rely more on guile and experience.
And while that is partly true - he joked that he has "the body of someone in their mid-forties" - Peters has benefited from North Tamworth's rich stock of quicks.
It has meant that captain Brendan Rixon has only had to call on the Hillston product when the Redbacks have desperately needed someone to change the game, as was the case on Saturday.
Bective was cruising towards their target of 160 with Adam Jones and Luke Paterson at the crease when Peters came on.
He clean-bowled Paterson early in his second over, then picked up two more wickets with the final two balls.
"It was a strange one," Peters said.
"I haven't done that for a very long time. It felt good."
Another pair of wickets soon followed, including Jones caught on the boundary to end the game.
It secured Peters' first five-for at North Tamworth, and earned him warm praise from his captain.
"He came on when the game was really up in the air and tipped in Bective's favour," Rixon said.
"It was unbelievable. He's pretty casual, doesn't celebrate too much, but we'll make sure he knows what he's done today."
The Redbacks' eagerness to commemorate one of their own illustrated exactly why Peters wanted to return for another season.
More than the on-field competition, he had missed the camaraderie.
"They're such a nice group of people here at North Tamworth," Peters said.
"[Coming back] was a little bit about the cricket, but more just chatting with the guys and spending time with them on the weekend."
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