He might be a week out from his 46th birthday, but Ben Middlebrook is still as formidable a force as ever.
The long-time Old Boys captain has plied his trade in Tamworth grade cricket for almost 30 years (he will hit that milestone next season), but still churns out runs and takes wickets with regularity.
Indeed, just two years after he dropped himself to second grade in a bid to rediscover his best form, Middlebrook is in the midst of what could be described as a purple patch.
"It's been okay," Middlebrook said.
"I can always score a few more runs, I've probably let myself down the last few weeks. But outside of that, I feel like I'm batting well and the ball's coming out well ... I'm just making sure I can do the job for my team."
Despite his modesty, Middlebrook has scored 142 runs at 28.4 in the Tamworth competition this year, to go with eight wickets at 13.6 runs apiece.
Those numbers climb to 289 runs at 36 and 25 wickets at 9.96 when all cricket, including Conolly Cup and his over 40s representative games for Mid North Coast and NSW, are counted.
Though he played exceptionally well for the senior-age teams, Middlebrook said the highlight was "off the park, meeting blokes that you played with 30 years ago".
"It was just good fun."
At an age when many cricketers are content to spend Saturday's happily reclined on the couch or watching their kids climb the sporting ranks, Middlebrook's unabating desire to test himself keeps him coming back.
"I think it's about taking a bit of pride in yourself," he said.
"Who wants to go and spend all day in the sun and do nothing and sell yourself short? If I get out there and get an opportunity with the ball or bat, I try to make the most of it these days."
That mentality, or the lack thereof, is exactly what has held Old Boys back in the first half of the season.
From seven games, they have five losses and one victory to their names. This despite boasting a team list which could compete with any other side in the competition.
But, Middlebrook said, they "made too many silly mistakes" in the first two months of the season.
"I think we're as good as anyone, but I don't think we've put our best foot forward," he said.
"We're bowling too many extras early on."
And while the last month has represented an on-field shift in attitude and performance, Old Boys have the disadvantage of playing a formidable Bective East side this Saturday which has already played and won in 2024.
They will have to shake off the Christmas break rust quickly after a bye last weekend extended their absence from the field.
"Hopefully we've turned a corner and know what standard we've got to set, and hopefully we continue that on Saturday," Middlebrook said.
"[Bective] are winning some close games and doing it well, so we'll have to be on our toes ... some of the boys have been practicing well. So I'm sure once we get out there, it'll be like riding a bike."