Thornton speeds onto Blues Rookie list

Paceman impresses with Australia Under 19s and will look to do the same with NSW next season

Fast bowler Henry Thornton has always wanted to play for his state, and thanks to Cricket NSW’s Elite Pathway, he’s one step closer to achieving that dream.

The 18-year-old started out in the Under 13 Cricket NSW Academy Program and worked his way up the chain to earn a NSW Rookie Contract for 2015-16.

“It was identified, even from an early age, that if you wanted to play cricket at the next level this pathway was your best opportunity to do that,” Thornton said.

“I’m very grateful for the support I’ve had from the Cricket NSW coaching staff. They were able to help me achieve what I’ve always wanted and that was to get a contract with Cricket NSW, and hopefully one day play for my state.”

Thornton is one of the nine promising young cricketers in the Basil Sellers Scholarship program, which aims to help the development of NSW’s best young talent.

Thornton’s already had a taste of higher representative honours, as part of the Under 19 NSW Metro side at the National Championships, and more recently with the Australia U19s against England.

And rather than simply making up the numbers in these teams, the 18-year-old quick has excelled.

Thornton was the equal highest wicket-taker during the Youth ODI series against England with 13 scalps at 13.46, and finished the one-off Test with match-best figures of 6-108.

“I was bowling well, but in saying that I was supported really well but the guys at the other end,” he said.

“Our main focus over there was to keep our plans simple and to work in partnerships. I was fortunate enough to get some wickets over there and have some success.”

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the young Thornton.

As is the case with many young fast bowlers, he has had to battle injury as he develops, but has put in the hard work, with the NSW Rookie Contract a reward for his efforts.

“It’s always what I’ve wanted and what I dreamed of, and to earn a Rookie Contract is just amazing,” said Thornton.

“It should be a terrific year. Just to be around the senior guys and learning from them is going to be a great experience for me and I’m sure it’ll help my game moving forward.”

Thornton will soon head to Brisbane to train with the 2015 National Performance Squad at the Bupa National Cricket Centre, before linking up with the Blues later this year.

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This article first appeared on cricketnsw.com.au