JAZ Bowater is making up for lost time.
The West Warrnambool all-rounder, who returned to the crease this past season, played cricket as a kid but moved away from the sport upon leaving school.
If you'd seen her play on Sunday, you'd think she'd been at it right through her life.
Bowater took a hat-trick against North Warrnambool Eels - the first in Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's women's division history - and backed it up with an unbeaten half-century to help the Panthers over the line.
She finished with figures of 5-5 from five overs, capping a player-of-the-match performance.
"It was pretty awesome. I never, ever thought I'd get a hat-trick. I played a bit when I was younger but never went back," Bowater.
"I only started playing again last season. I think I'm doing all right but I sort of kick myself a bit at the same time because I wonder where I'd be if I'd have pursued it a bit more when I was younger.
"I'll probably be playing now until I'm at least 100."
Two of Bowater's hat-trick wickets were bowled while the third was caught and bowled.
"The first one came off a pad onto the stumps while the second knocked middle stump out of the ground," she said.
She said her love for the sport was burning bright after her stint away.
I'll probably be playing now until I'm at least 100.- Jaz Bowater
"I don't have any words for how much I love it. I didn't realise how much I did until I actually went away and came back to it as an older person," Bowater said.
"I absolutely love it. I couldn't imagine playing anywhere else - the girls are all incredible and regardless of what's going on outside cricket everyone just has fun and gives their all.
"I wish I'd been playing forever. Before we started the season, I set myself a couple of goals and I've almost ticked them off. I wanted to make three half-centuries, which I've got, and I wanted to be the leading run-scorer for our team. I've worked hard to improve."
Bowater, who is part of the Warrnambool representative side which will play Hamilton on February 20, said she spent extra time at the nets in a bid to build her skills.
"At least once a week I'll head down to the nets and train by myself," she revealed.
"I'll just do simple footwork drills and stuff like that. That's on top of training on a Thursday. It's definitely helped me this year but it's also helped me get out of my own head.
"I struggled a bit with batting last year because it's easy to get caught in your own head and can (think negatively) so it's helped me immensely, doing those drills."
West Warrnambool will play off against Brierly-Christ Church on Sunday in a bid to keep their finals dreams alive.
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