A reinvigorated competition, the chance to play under a good mate and the lure of CYMS' 75th anniversary year have combined to bring former Western Zone stick Dave Neil back into the fold for the green and golds' Bathurst-Orange Inter-District Cricket tilt.
Neil, CYMS' fifth-highest run-scorer of all-time with more than 5,000, took a brief hiatus after celebrating a second straight premiership in 2015-16, but with Hugh Le Lievre captaining the side this summer he's back on board full-time.
His knocks of 31 and 50 so far this summer make for a handy start to his return, although Neil suggests they're far more than that, saying he hasn't so much picked up where he left off as well and truly surpassed that.
With him pulling the reins I'll back the team to have a good year.Dave Neil, on CYMS skipper Hugh Le Lievre
"I batted like I had a blindfold on (in 2015-16)," Neil said, with off-season ruminations with Le Lievre drawing him back into the mix.
"When we won the comp it felt like a good time to have a break. I played a bit in the interim, filling in and enjoying it without being too keen to play full-time, but with the reunified comp and Hughie back in charge I'm keen to hook in.
"I enjoyed playing under him when we won the 2013-14 One-Day Cup, the club's first first-grade premiership in about 30 years, and wanted to be a part of an important year for the club where we can hopefully replicate that success.
"He's a fantastic cricketer and an even better leader, and with him pulling the reins I'll back the team to have a good year."
Hook in he'll have to this weekend, Neil will play a crucial role at Bathurst's Morse Park 1 as his CYMS side will chase more than 300 for victory against Rugby Union.
As it stands that target is 324, although it remains to be seen if Rugby Union, eight down, will declare before play resumes or not.
Despite their task being monumental, Neil said he's 'pretty confident' his side has the firepower to successfully chase, although he admitted they're striding into the unknown at the same time.
"Obviously we're flying somewhat blind in terms of knowing anything about the Rugby bowling attack, but given the pretty flat deck and the form of our top order we believe we have a good opportunity to lay down a marker," he said.
He pointed to round one centurion Tom Belmonte and both Le Lievre brothers - Hugh and Angus - as key, not just this weekend but moving forward as well.
"They're all in good nick and have posted scores already this season," Neil said.
"Their positivity and willingness to be aggressive will be valuable on what will likely be batting-friendly decks that will require a big total to have a hope of winning."
Neil said he's been going along 'okay without being in great touch' and was dirty on being dismissed for 50 on the final ball of day one in his side's round one win over Kinross, adding his role will be to act as an anchor around the side's more-aggressive bats.
As one of the few left who played in the former iterations of the combined competition he said he's a 'huge fan' of its return, with his only knock being an 8pm return home from away games, adding all involved deserve 'a huge pat on the back'.
Saturday's second day begins at 1.30pm at Morse Park 1, with Rugby Union significantly weakened by the absence of day one heroes Jameel and Imran Qureshi. They put on 142 for the opening wicket, but are on Western Zone duty this weekend.
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