SOMETIMES time off is just the tonic one needs to reignite a passion.
In Nick Robertson's case, it was a godsend.
The talented all-rounder, who'd most recently featured at Allansford-Panmure, resurfaced at North Warrnambool Eels in November after a year off and is shaping as a key cog in the club's Warrnambool and District Cricket Association Twenty20 title defence this weekend.
"It's great to be back into it. I definitely needed a bit of a break to refresh," he told The Standard.
"I love it out there (at Bushfield). It's a good, social club and I've grown up with a lot of the guys and know them through school. Ollie King, Bailey Jenkinson, Jacko Grundy and Jack Burke are all around my age.
"I did lose the love of cricket for a bit but it's been good to get back playing."
North Warrnambool Eels have been untouchable through their three pool games in the standalone Twenty20 competition. They downed West Warrnambool, Koroit and Northern Raiders to emerge unbeaten and book a place in the semi-finals.
It's somewhat mirrored their one-day form. Nick Butters' men are fourth overall but are yet to hit their best form and will be eyeing improvement, particularly with the bat, when the format resumes on January 15.
As for his own form, Robertson is determined to keep improving in his return to division one cricket.
"My whole life I've sort of been a genuine all-rounder but in the past few seasons I've probably struggled a bit more with the bat," he said.
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"I'd still consider myself an all-rounder. I know I'm probably seen more as a bowler but I'm still working really hard, as hard, on my batting. I have clear intentions to do that at training.
"The runs just haven't been there yet. I remember I was making better scores as a 16-year-old in division one... Cricket is definitely a confidence sport."
Robertson revealed early wickets - particularly the scalp of one of the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's most dangerous batters - would be key to success in the semi on Saturday.
"I reckon getting (Chris Bant) nice and early will be one of the main keys to the game," he said. "But they've got dangers after that too. 'Dangers' (Daniel Meade), Paddy Mahony... They can all bat.
"As a team we're really happy with how we've been going in the Twenty20 format. In the one-dayers, we know we can perform better than we have been. We've just been a bit slim in the runs.
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"It's a good indicator we've been winning games (not playing at our best)."
The 21-year-old, who works at Bundy's Bar and Bistro part-time, is pursuing a career in financial planning.
His current degree - a Bachelor of Business - is online with Federation University but Robertson plans to undertake a graduate diploma at Deakin next year.
"I didn't realise it was what I wanted to do until this year. I had a unit and the assignments were fun so I decided it's where I wanted to go," he said.
"It's been good so far and I've been spending a lot of time on the stock market."
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