Warrnambool and District Cricket Association export Tommy Jackson is looking forward to a few weeks off to reflect and recharge and ultimately gear up for a swift bounce back.
The life of a cricketer is filled with ups and downs and for the 21-year-old Geelong gun and Victorian-contracted batter, 2021-22 has provided moments which tested his resolve and patience.
A partial tear to the anterior cruciate ligament at the beginning of the season saw the prodigiously talented run-maker battle to be at his best both physically and mentally.
The now Geelong-based cricketer managed to score 222 runs at 24.7 for the Cats in Victorian Premier Cricket and play two second XI matches for Victoria.
His overall record in club cricket for Cats is impressive and one of the most prolific for a player of his age - 1698 runs at an average of 37.7 from 49 first XI matches.
"Personally, it was very challenging to come straight in three quarters of the way into the season and try and make an impact," he told The Standard.
"I didn't really make the contribution I wanted to - to be honest I probably came back too early from my knee.
"Even in the back end of the year I was still struggling a bit with the knee so it'll be good in the next couple of weeks to chill out and give the knee a bit of a rest.
"But I tried not to think about the higher honours stuff, I just wanted to get back out there playing again."
Weighing up whether to head overseas to England to play club cricket this off-season, the former Woodford (now North Warrnambool Eels) junior is set to jet off alongside great mate and fellow Victorian player Todd Murphy to play with Tracy Village in the highly-regarded Darwin District competition in the coming weeks.
It'll be the top-order batter's first venture in the competition.
It's a move Jackson hopes can spark the joy back to the game for him, similar to when he was running around as a little tacker in his junior days around Warrnambool.
"I want to make sure I'm still having fun playing the game, kind of like when I was a kid playing with Woodford," he said.
"Ninety per cent of the game is upstairs so I'm focusing on my mental approach, I'm not necessarily going up there to work on anything technical.
"I want to head up and just enjoy my cricket like when I first started playing juniors back home."
The move to the Top End has become a popular move for Victorian cricketers who were looking to push for higher honours in recent years.
The right-hander said it was a pretty simple decision to continue playing cricket instead of just "doing the same thing he has for years".
"It was easy for me to make the decision, I missed most of the season with my knee so it's more to keep playing as many games," he said.
"I'm good mates with Jimmy Seymour (Victorian and BBL batsman) so I talked to him a fair bit about Darwin and a lot of Victorian players that went last year performed really well at state level.
"It'll be nice to get up and enjoy some nicer weather. It's not as much about training, it's about getting in as many games as possible and as I mentioned enjoy my cricket and have fun.
"I want to work hard on my fitness up there too and come back a bit lighter which would be nice."
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