Plenty of players came into the current Melbourne Country Week tournament in a rich vein of form, building their respective cases for selection through a weight of runs, wickets or both.
But those out on the pitch were not the only ones putting in the hard yards ahead of proceedings.
Stephen Hicks — who many would know through his work with the Murray Bushrangers — hit a purple patch recently with pen and paper, rather than bat and ball.
Across 15 days of hard yakka last month, Hicks tallied up 791.2 overs in charge of scorebooks attached to contests ranging from local cricket to Youth Premier League and Bendigo Country Week action.
The effort — that averaged out to comfortably more than 50 overs a day — took a toll on Hicks, but he would not have it any other way.
“There weren't too many days where I wasn't scoring cricket,” Hicks said.
“I usually score for Yarrawonga-Mulwala in the Wangaratta comp (Wangaratta District Cricket Association) every weekend which is 75 overs.
“Then the North East Knights asked me to go down to the YPL for the week, then back to club level, then I've done Bendigo Country Week for the past five years, so went down there as well and finished it off with another 75 overs at club level.
“I ended up with really sore eyes, it's not physically taxing, but mentally is.”
The overlap between cricket season and football pre-season always makes this a busy period for Hicks, who got into scoring as part of his regular volunteer efforts at various clubs.
“I do a bit of social media and match reviews and previews with the Busharangers, it gets pretty hectic in February-March with pre-season footy matches and cricket's just coming into finals,” he said.
“I probably wasn't too good at cricket or footy, so I got involved a lot more off the field, I became team manager instead.
“Before I got involved with the Bushrangers six or seven years ago now I was involved with Yarrawonga doing interchange and timekeeping and those sorts of things.”
The huge fortnight of scoring would have held Hicks in good stead for another MCW stint with Wangaratta this week, but the association did not end up sending a team to the tournament.
It was a possibility Hicks had floated after the Bendigo competition.
“It could be my last Melbourne Country Week with Wang,” he said.
“They might not be coming back, I'm not sure.
“But I really enjoy being involved.”