Thornton: “Such an honour to be playing for the county of my birth”

Grant Thornton admits he has come a long, long way - more than he could have imagined possible - in a year.

But the 24-year-old seamer, who recently signed a three-month contract with Warwickshire, is now settling into the first-team squad, as shown by impressive displays in the Royal London One-Day Cup matches against Worcestershire Rapids at New Road and Yorkshire Vikings at Edgbaston.

Coventry-born Thornton took seven wickets in those two games and bowled with a pace which hurried some high-class batsmen.

And his rapid emergence shows that, for talent which shines in the Birmingham League, as he did with Berkswell last season, there is a clear pathway through to the Bears' first-team squad.

"A year ago today I would never have thought I would be playing first-team cricket for Warwickshire," Thornton said.

"It is such an honour to be playing for the county of my birth and I just want to do all I can to take this opportunity.

"In the first two games I was very nervous but now I have overcome those nerves it is going well for me. It is quite a step up so, coming into the team, you have got to up your standards and hopefully I have got through those first-few-game nerves now and can really settle.

"I have been involved in every first-team squad so far, so it's good to be highly thought of. "

Thornton's meteoric rise was brought into focus last Sunday when he found himself bowling to a Yorkshire top order including England trio Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance.

"It is a big step up, especially against the likes of Yorkshire who had five players who have played for England recently," he said. "So when you are at the top of your mark and just about to run in to bowl, you just have to forget that and treat it as you would a club game on a Saturday.

"Batsmen do come hard at you in 50-over cricket, so it is tough, especially in the middle few overs when the ball is not doing as much. But before the Worcestershire game, Ashley Giles told me to just run in and bowl as fast as I could, so I took that on board.

"Whereas in the Durham game I think the occasion got to me a little bit, at Worcester I just ran in as hard as I could and let it go. It came out well and each game I play I'll get used to the first-team environment a little bit more, so I've just got to keep working hard and try to take my chances whenever they come along."

Brian Halford

Brian is Warwickshire's Club Journalist and has reported on the Bears since 2000.