LAUNCESTON cricketer Jade Selby vividly remembers his second A-grade game for the Lions as a 16-year-old, debuting in the 1994-95 NTCA season.
``I had Troy Cooley bowling about 150 clicks at me and Ricky Ponting smashing the ball at me at mid-off and killing my hands,'' he said.
``I was thinking `I can't play this game and I'm not good enough to play against these guys'.''
Now a 35-year-old veteran of more than 300 games for Launceston, including nine first-grade premierships and eight one-day flags, Selby is enjoying returning to the club this season after a break to help out some of the younger players with his experience.
``It's been good coming back to Lonnie and the kids were sort of left to themselves last year,'' Selby said.
``So you just feel like you are helping contribute to these guys like your Jimmy Bowen, Jobe Edmunds and Benny Fraser - I'm enjoying that part of it.''
Selby's last game for Launceston was the 2010-11 premiership before making the move to Hobart to coach the Tassie Roar women's team.
He returned to Launceston this season and top-scored with a knock of 61 in the Lions victory over Mowbray last week and said his form was slowly returning.
``Early on I was finding ways of getting out - I felt like I was going OK and working hard, so it was nice to get a little bit of luck against Mowbray and be able to cash in, and feel like I was able to contribute to a win,'' he said.
Although admitting that his bowling pace has dropped off considerably, Selby has also been opening the bowling this year to support the younger bowlers at the other end.
``The body is saying `what are you doing to me?' and I'm certainly nowhere near the pace I once was and I think I'm bowling about 80km/h,'' he said.
``But I've just been trying to swing the ball a bit and keep it tight and make the batters think they have got to work to score runs.''
Selby said Launceston had produced plenty of young talent over the years who had gone on to Hobart to become state cricketers, including the likes of James Faulkner, Tom Triffitt and Alex Doolan.
``We're lucky we have talented kids still but we're unlucky we've had a gap now between them and there is no one in the 22 to 30 age bracket to show those guys a little bit,'' he said.
``So it's good to go back and do that along with Ross (Clayton).
``They even enjoy hearing the stories about all the players that have come before them, like Richard Bennett and Andy Belsak, and like to listen and learn and appreciate the club's great history.''
Selby said he was loving playing in the new Aussie 15s series and the concept was proving even better than he had expected.