Steph Townsend had absolutely no plans to play Victorian Premier Cricket this season.
Growing business interests, a desire to cut down on travel and to spend more time with family had all-but sealed the fate for retirement after 50 first XI matches and a mighty contribution.
But like most seasons, the unbridled love and passion for the game drove her back on the eve of the season to Melbourne each and every week.
"I wasn't planning on playing whatsoever, I was a bit of a fill-in, we have a few state contracted players and initially I was going to just play a few games and it went from there," she told The Standard of her season. "I guess it turned out alright in the end.
"I wanted to focus on my business (Steph Townsend Gardening Services) and then the travel was tough, I've done it since I was about 17 or 18, so mainly it was for that reason and I'm playing with Nirranda as well so it was more so to have more family time and get Sundays off. It wasn't to be."
But the Warrnambool native is now just one win away from her second premiership with her beloved Melbourne Cricket Club, with the Demons to take on Carlton in Sunday's first XI grand final at the Albert Ground as the club gears up for a potential fourth women's flag this season alone.
The batter - who has also featured with Nirranda's division two side in the Warrnambool District association this season - made a sublime start to the season for the Demons, crunching her maiden Premier Cricket century in her first stint as an opener, a flawless 106 against Box Hill.
"My first hit for the first season was quite lucky, it was nice to make some runs but I haven't really opened the batting ever in my life and I was filling a void with one of the other girls on state duties," she said.
"Our captain (Teagan Parker) asked me if I could give it a crack and I'm pretty happy to do anything needed for the team.
"I was stoked to score some runs and continue on with a bit of form - obviously I've made a few lean scores but that's cricket.
"I'm happy with how I'm travelling but the biggest factor is just how much I'm loving it and being around the girls.
"I like to thrive in new situations and this year was a bit more of a challenge opening the bat which I haven't done much of."
Townsend - who is also a gun netballer for Nirranda having clinched the Warrnambool District league A Grade best and fairest last season - said the Demons were relishing the challenge of the Blues, who have qualified for the grand final in their first season as a standalone female team.
"I've played against them a bit in previous years and they're relatively new still but they've picked up a few," she said.
"They're travelling well and are a consistent side, and what stands out most with them is they don't necessarily have huge big names, they have consistency and found some real form."
Despite acknowledging the Blues' many threats and the unknown surrounding Sophie Reid's side, she said the group was well placed to give history a shake.
"We're pretty confident going in, we'll trust our processes, I'm lucky to play with some pretty talented girls," she said.
"I'm confident, but finals are completely different games - we're probably favourites and a lot of pressure can come with that, but we're not the kind of group to get caught up in that.
"We all know our role and what needs to be done - we've had to fight for some gritty wins and we're certainly not worried if push comes to shove.
"We're mature and experienced in finals so when we need to band together and fight we'll be in good stead for that."
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