THERE were times in the last six months that Andrew Dack really thought he might lose his hand.
Dack, 49, nearly severed his left hand while preparing the wicket at the Johnny Martin Oval for the Manning first grade cricket grand final.
"It was March 14 - I won't forget that date,'' he said this week.
"Losing my hand was a real possibility. If it happened I just would have had to deal with it and adjust.''
Dack's told his story to the Times in April.
Hek was raced to John Hunter Hospital immediately after the accident - his hand only holding on by a couple of tendons. In the last six months he's had surgery five times and says he has one or two more to do.
An optimistic type, Dack told the Times that it was his ambition to recover in time to play cricket next seasons in October.
"It's probably not realistic, but it's something for me to aim for,'' he said at the time.
Now with just a fortnight to go before the first ball of the 2013/14 season is bowled, Dack says he's right on track. He's started working fulltime again and says his hand is getting stronger.
""I can make a fist but I still have a way to go before my hand is fully function, particularly with fine motor skills, if it will ever be,'' he said.
However, he says that won't stop him from starting the season on Saturday October 5.
"I'll be playing,'' he said.
Not only that he hopes to be named in Taree West's first grade squad for the opening match.
"I'm not sure about that - I might play third grade with my young bloke. But if he only plays juniors then I hope to get picked in first grade,'' he said.
He's a late bloomer at cricket - he didn't make his first grade debut until he was 48. He usually opens the batting but he isn't concerned about facing up to the quicks with his injured hand. He won't be wearing any additional protection on the hand.
"That would only give them something to aim at,'' he reasons.
He is quick to praise the work of the team at John Hunter Hospital as well as the physiotherapy treatment he received locally.
However, Dack isn't sure if he'll be required to help work on the wickets this season.
"I think a few people are going to share the work around,'' he said.
"They haven't asked me, or not at this stage, but if they do I'll help out when I can.''
Possessing a strong Christian faith, Dack says his quicker-than-expected recovery underlines the power of prayer.
"The thing that go me through this was the confidence that the outcome is in God's control,'' he said.
"I could see his healing hand at work.''