The footy season’s winding up and the weather’s warming, so it must be time to start breaking out the bats and pads.
Cricket NSW is getting ahead of the game, demonstrating to students from St Joseph’s Public School, The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School and Tenterfield High School that it’s a fun, inclusive sport with a special clinic at Shirley Park on Tuesday, September 5.
Along for the ride were state cricketing stars Daniel Hughes and Henry Thornton, who had a great rapport with the kids who peppered them with questions about their playing careers and specifically their stats.
Hughes is a left-handed batsman who made the Australia A team that was to tour South Africa, but now instead is looking forward to a good start to the Australian season.
He’s a country kid, born in Cowra, who moved to Sydney at age 18 before finding his feet at the crease. Thornton, on the other hand, is a city kid who’s talent was identified and groomed from an early age.
The right-arm fast bowler was selected as a youngster in the Under-13 Cricket NSW Academy Program. He went on to score a NSW Blues rookie contract and during the 2015-16 summer was part of the NSW Metro team which won the Under-19 National Championships.
He was subsequently selected in the Australian Under-19 team for a series against England in Perth. He was the leading wicket-taker during the one day international section of that tour, snaring 13 scalps at 13.46.
Thornton has a full contract for the Blues in this coming season, but he and Hughes found time to participate in Cricket NSW’s Country Blitz tour through northern NSW. He remembers a significant episode in his life when an influential person impacted his career choice.
“It was my Under 10 presentation do and Moises Henriques came and talked to us about teamwork and I got to bowl to him.
“Now I can call him a teammate.”
Henriques is captain of the Sydney Sixers to which Thornton and Hughes also belong.
Thornton said he had a great day in Tenterfield, and was really pleased to see both boys and girls get involved.
“Especially with the WBBL (Women's Big Bash League) taking off, it’s really exciting to get as many kids into cricket as we can.”
The wind was keen but the sun was shining as the young crickets played several rounds of T20 Blast, enjoying the fast format.
They returned to school with giveaways, posters and some Milo.
Cricket NSW’s Brett Rankin said the tour was all about engaging kids in cricket and getting them enthusiastic about participating in the upcoming season.