St Patrick’s Nick Brown left for an overseas stint as a bowler and has returned a batsman.
To highlight the transformation, Brown batted number 11 for the Patties in last year’s first round, but opened the batting for St Ouen Springfield in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, off the coast of France.
“I feel like it’s given me a bit of a new purpose I guess, I haven’t really thought too much about bowling, so it’s probably changed my look on it a bit,” he said.
“It was certainly different, the wicket’s definitely do a bit over there.
“Batting over there, it’s really just backing your technique.
“If your technique is solid then you give yourself the best chance but, if it’s not, you will get found out pretty quickly.”
That certainly suited the 19-year-old as his game is based on technique.
Brown batted everywhere from one to 11 for St Pat’s and while he won’t be opening in the shortened form, he’ll play a crucial role in the top order during the two-dayers.
Interestingly, Brown’s time in the top order came crashing down after he was hit in the head while batting against East Albury in round four.
“It was an errant throw, I had my back turned,” he said.
“It slowed me down for the next week, I didn’t really bat at all, just a bit precautionary and, yeah, just didn’t really get up there again because the guys that replaced me made a few runs and I batted seven or eight after that.”
Brown was an East Albury junior, but left the Crows midway through the 2015-16 season for an “opportunity and just a change of scenery really”.
“Yeah, I’ve enjoyed St Pat’s, I did really like East Albury, but I’d say the change has been worth it,” he said.
Brown posted 132 runs at 22 last season, finishing not out in half of his 12 innings.
He also nabbed 11 wickets with his off-spin.
“I’d say this year is a pretty important one for me,” he said.
“Once you get to 19, if you’re going to go anywhere with it, you’ve got to start making some moves now.”
It will be a young top order, with St Pat’s naming 21-year-old Matt Crawshaw as captain.
“’Browny’ will be up there (in the top five), especially with Nick Flood away,” Crawshaw said.
Like Brown and Crawshaw, Flood also played overseas during winter, but is now travelling through Europe.
Brown’s tight technique will be critical in the top order, but he’ll also be banking on another attribute he developed overseas.
“You’ve got to be more patient over there because you will get a good ball that will have your name on it,” he said.
The Patties start their season away to East Albury on Saturday, before hosting New City on Sunday.