When Matt Purse moved to Dubbo a few years ago he decided playing cricket again would simply be a good way to meet people and become part of the community.
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He didn't expect to be in the position he is now, pushing for higher honours as one of the leading bowlers in the region.
Purse will line up for the Western Plains Outlaws in this weekend's Tremain-Copeland Cup matches against the Central West Wranglers at Bathurst. Perform well there and he could well find himself in the Western Zone side for this season's NSW Country Championships.
"I just joined up again to get to know people because I came to town not knowing anyone," 29-year-old Purse said, having previously been in Sydney.
"I just used cricket as a tool to get to know people. I definitely wouldn't have found myself playing rep cricket.
"I'd always said I'd given Sundays away and was strictly Saturday but now I love my Sunday cricket."
Having played with Newtown when he first arrived at Dubbo, Purse has gone to another level in the past two seasons after making the move to CYMS.
He played a key role in the Cougars' run to the RSL Whitney Cup final last summer while he's been better again in 2023/24.
After getting a taste of representative cricket last summer, Purse put his hand up for more this season and has quickly proved up to the level.
In the Western Zone Premier League meeting with four-time defending champions Bathurst on October 21, Purse was brilliant with the new ball and took 4/28 from his 10 overs.
That spell caught the attention of Western Zone selectors while just last weekend for CYMS he took 3/12 from 10 overs as the Cougars rolled Newtown for 50.
Purse is part of arguably the best pace attack in Western Zone at CYMS, with fellow Outlaws quicks Ben Knaggs and Bailey Edmunds and former Australian Indigenous representative Ben Patterson.
"I'm really enjoying the blokes I'm playing with and I think that's probably brought out the results on the field now," Purse said.
"Obviously coming across to CYMS, we train twice a week. And this year Ben Patterson has come back and just having him around has been really good and just the little things he shows and tells you has really helped my game.
"Just those things like turning up and marking our run-ups with a tape measure. I'd never done anything like that before but now me, Ben and 'Buzz' (Edmunds) go out there together and that's then one less thing you've got to worry about when you're actually playing."
While this weekend will be a step up for Purse, playing at a higher level is not something new to him.
When he was younger he played representative cricket around Parramatta and ran out with Fairfield Liverpool in the under 16s Green Shield before having a crack at the premier Sydney grade competition.
The Outlaws and Wranglers will play two Twenty20 matches at Bathurst's Morse Park on Saturday while a Western Zone Twenty20 team will at Orange on November 23.
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