Joining the Numurkah Cricket Club this season has helped breathe new vigour into Shaun Downie’s career.
The former Cobram legend spent the previous 11 campaigns with the Tigers in the Murray Valley Cricket Association before making the switch to the Blues last year.
The all-rounder felt the move had helped renew his appetite for the game.
‘‘I’m probably working as hard as I have in a long time in terms of cricket,’’ Downie said.
‘‘It’s been really good, it’s been a fresh start for me having to perform in a new league and having new team mates around me.’’
Downie has adjusted to Cricket Shepparton ranks well — hitting 473 runs at 29.6 and snaring 26 wickets at 12.8 — and said the difference in competitions was not as much as some would think.
‘‘The top end of both are very similar,’’ he said.
‘‘But the depth in Shepparton clubs is certainly a lot more than in the Murray.
‘‘I probably haven’t made as many runs as I would have liked, but hopefully I can change that over the next two weeks.’’
After smashing almost 6000 runs at 40.43 and taking nearly 300 wickets at 12.5 in his time at Cobram, it would seem Downie, 31, does not have much more to accomplish in the game of cricket.
But the one accolade that has eluded him his entire career is a premiership medal.
It is that burning desire for success that has led him to the cusp of a Haisman Shield grand final berth.
‘‘I haven’t won one, but I’ve definitely lost a few,’’ he said.
‘‘Everyone plays to win premierships and they’re bloody hard to win.
‘‘You’ve got to get there first and then perform on the day.’’
No matter how the Blues go this weekend against Central Park-St Brendan’s, Downie will go around again next season.
It is a nod to the relationships he has already formed at the Numurkah Showgrounds.
‘‘I’m really enjoying it on and off the field,’’ Downie said.
‘‘(Numurkah captain) Liam Gledhill has been asking me for a few years to come across.
‘‘We played in the Murray Valley together, so we had a bit of a relationship there, and Numurkah being an old Murray side it just kind of made sense.’’
Downie’s focus remains centred on this weekend’s clash though, and he feels the Blues are ready to bloom.
‘‘Finals are about which side hits its straps at the right time,’’ he said.
‘‘I feel like we’ve been playing our best cricket over the last few weeks.’’