It was only a couple of years ago when Dubbo's Ben Patterson, one of Cavaliers' Royal Hotel Cup marquee players, considered not playing cricket at a competitive level any longer.
Having tested himself in Sydney and then returned home to Dubbo to where he had starred as a junior, Patterson took some time and looked at his options.
"I was thinking of taking the military route," Patterson said, the army specifically.
"But a few things fell in my favour and I thought I might still have a chance to chase something bigger and better in my cricket so I thought I'd continue and I'm reaping the rewards now."
The rewards have been there for everyone to see.
Patterson has enjoyed a stellar period of his career, with his achievements rivalling few others in bush cricket anywhere in the country.
The highlight was a trip to England with the Australian Indigenous squad, while the all-rounder also spent time in Sweden where he played, coached and helped develop the game there.
The past season was also one where Patterson won the RSL-Whitney Cup in Dubbo and went on to earn selection in the Australian Country merit side, the top honour for anyone plying their trade outside the major cities.
That came after stunning performances from NSW Country at the national championships, performances which were rewarded on Wednesday.
Officials from Cricket NSW were on hand at No. 1 Oval to hand Patterson the state's Male Player of the Toyota Australian Country Championships award.
Patterson hit 189 runs at average of 27 and took 10 wickets at 22.6 at the championships, which were held at Victoria in January.
For Patterson, all the form and awards come down to him realising his talents and putting it to use.
"It's about playing for the pride of where you're from," Patterson said of the championships.
"You're doing it for the guys who would kill to be in my position and I think that's the biggest driver and catalyst for my cricket in the last year or so, it's a pretty amazing award to receive."
And while it may look like highlight after highlight and one incredible experience after another, the support off the field has also been key.
"With every athlete there's dark patches and harder times and it can just be someone who has no knowledge of the sport you're in, they can help you get over the line with just something little they say or do," Patterson said, acknowledging the family and friends who have helped along the way.
That support is also driving Patterson on as he approaches the next chapter in his career.
Patterson is heading back to Sydney before next season after receiving a scholarship form the Campbelltown-Camden club.
He'll take all he's learnt in the past 18 months with him there, with experiences gained from the special tour of England last year the most beneficial.
"I've been incredibly lucky on and off the field," Patterson said.
"The England tour was something special.
"It's been my biggest cricket achievement to date and I think that has helped everything. Whether it's cultural or cricket, I spent time with people from different mobs and got to see how they go about their cricket and lives in general.
"I think that's helped my whole persona."
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