CRICKET: COVENTRY cricketer Grant Thornton has been handed a temporary three-month contract with Warwickshire County Cricket Club after impressing with Birmingham League side Berkswell.
Thornton has also proved himself during 2nd XI games last season, in practice, and on a pre-season tour in the winter.
The 24-year-old seam bowler made his first-team debut in the ten-wicket Royal London Cup win against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road last week.
Despite suffering from a few nerves during his first game, Thornton told The Observer he’s pleased with how he’s performed and is looking forward to gaining more experience.
He said: “Without a doubt this is a big move for me. I played at Under 19 level with Warwickshire but since then it’s all been about league cricket.
“I was part of the Berkswell team which won the Birmingham League last year and that helped me a lot.
“I learnt a lot by playing with former professionals and continue to do so.”
Grant – who started playing cricket through family influence – highlighted the impact Warwickshire coach Jim Troughton has had on his game already, and said it’s ‘surreal’ to be playing under his guidance.
He added: “At the start of my first game I must admit I was nervous.
“I settled though and it’s nice to get that debut out of the way and look forward to the next game.
“I’ve still got work to do, in three months time this contract could be over.
“But initially I’m pleased with where things are.
“To be coached by Jim is quite surreal – growing up as a kid Jim, Ian Bell and Ashley Giles were the three big names at Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
“Now to be working for them is different, they’re good guys.”
Thornton’s contract was confirmed at the same time Stoke-on-Trent based player Mitchell Spencer was called up to the first team squad.
Warwickshire coach Jim Troughton said: “Both these guys played a fair bit of 2nd-team cricket for us last year.
“Both were involved with us in the winter.
“We couldn’t offer them anything financially but they came in and trained with us really well so the contracts are a natural progression.
“It’s good to have them on board, especially with us having a couple of other guys coming back from long-term injuries.
“Grant had a slight fitness issue at the back end of last year when he was tired and needed to shift some weight – and he went away and did that.
“For someone who was not on a contract, that was impressive and showed that dedication we look for.”