Matt Gilkes can't help but laugh about the dropped catch that threatened to turn his dream debut into a nightmare.
The Sydney Thunder rookie had spent the best part of two days trying to keep his mind off the game after finding out he would be making his Big Bash League debut at 1am two nights prior.
The former Western District-UC wicketkeeper batsman was riddled with nerves and dropped a sitter in the opening over to gift one of Australia's premier batsmen in Perth Scorchers star Shaun Marsh a second chance.
Skipper Shane Watson's head rocked back and Gilkes had one feeling washing over his body.
"Just disappointment. I knew Shaun was such a big wicket and that would have been a massive turning point in the game so I was just disappointed not to hold onto it," Gilkes said.
Usual Thunder wicketkeeper Jay Lenton busted his hand to give Gilkes a debut he had been craving for years, one that became a realistic goal when he shifted to play premier cricket with the University of New South Wales two seasons ago.
The start didn't go to plan - after dropping Marsh, the discarded Australian batsman went on to make an unbeaten 96 from just 55 balls.
Gilkes thought he had dropped the game on debut.
So when he got his chance to make amends with the bat, he did it in style with a classy half-century of his own at the top of the order (51 from 38) to help the Thunder to a thrilling victory.
"It was good to actually spend some time out there and get rid of some of the nerves I had because the heart rate was quite high," Gilkes said.
"It helped having Cal Ferguson, his experience at the other end was really good for me. It was a great feeling to be out there in front of a big crowd at an amazing stadium. Nothing compares to that feeling.
"I was trying to find ways to get my mind off the game instead of thinking about the whole time because that’s so mentally draining.
"I had nerves throughout the day but I really enjoyed the whole experience of it."
Gilkes and the Thunder will return to Canberra on February 9 for a clash with the Hobart Hurricanes at Manuka Oval, with about 1000 tickets remaining for the match.
While Gilkes' move to Sydney has paved the way for the rising star to earn a crack under the bright lights of the Big Bash, Blake Macdonald's has landed him in charge of the ACT/NSW Country Comets.
Macdonald will captain the Comets for the first time as they gear up for their inaugural Futures League Twenty20 series against Queensland, NSW Metro and Cricket Australia under 19s in Sydney beginning on Monday.
ANU skipper Daniel Leerdam is set to make his Futures League debut while Tuggeranong’s Tom Vane Tempest returns after a two-year exile.
Comets coach Kyle Piper says Weston Creek Molonglo’s Djali Bloomfield's status as "the premier short format bowler in the ACT premier competition" has paved the way for his recall ahead of the landmark series.
Comets squad: Blake Macdonald (c), Henry Hunt, Hayden Kerr, Blake Nikitaras, Daniel Leerdam, Tom Engelbrecht, Riley Ayre, Tom Vane Tempest (wk), Ben Taylor, Joe Kershaw, Djali Bloomfield, Jason Ralston, Tom Pinson
FUTURES LEAGUE TWENTY20 SERIES
Monday: ACT/NSW Country Comets v Queensland, Blacktown International Sportspark, 2pm
Tuesaday: ACT/NSW Country Comets v NSW Metro, BISP, 10am
Tuesday: ACT/NSW Country Comets v CA U19, BISP, 2pm
Wednesday: ACT/NSW Country Comets v Queensland, BISP, 10am
Wednesday: ACT/NSW Country Comets v NSW Metro, BISP, 2pm
Thursday: ACT/NSW Country Comets v CA U19, BISP, 10am
CRICKET ACT DOUGLAS CUP ROUND 11
Saturday: North Canberra-Gungahlin v Weston Creek Molonglo at Harrison Oval, Queanbeyan v Tuggeranong Valley at Freebody Oval, Ginninderra v Western District-UC at Kippax Oval, ANU v Eastlake at ANU North Oval. All games at 11am.
CRICKET ACT GALLOP CUP SEMI-FINALS
Sunday: Tuggeranong Valley v Queanbeyan at Chisholm Oval. Weston Creek Molonglo v Western District-UC at Stirling Oval. All games at 11am.