With just two spots reserved for country players, Gus Cornish knew he had a difficult task ahead of him.
But the Orange City first-grader's hard work and determination paid off, with a selection in Penrith's Green Shield squad the prize.
The under 16s competition will see sides play seven 50-over matches against other Sydney clubs who feature within the grade competition setup.
Cornish said it was an interesting trialling period.
"There was supposed to be an academy during COVID, but obviously that got canned and none of us could go down there together as a group," the 15-year-old said.
"What they did was made a Microsoft Teams group and we chatted on there and did all that sort of stuff. They gave us some challenges to do and also stay fit and motivated. When the boys kept posting stuff it kept you motivated to keep going with the training."
Along with Cornish, Dubbo's Fletcher Hyde was the other player from outside Greater Sydney selected in the team.
Cornish was delighted and a little shocked by his inclusion in the 15-player squad.
"There were a few good country boys down there as well and they're only allowed to pick two for the whole team, so I was pretty lucky I suppose," he said.
"I had good people pushing me along and helping me along the way.
"I met all the people down there and you become mates with them, so you don't really think about it in that sense, but you are still competing underneath all the friendships."
This was the first year Cornish had trialled for the Green Shield side and also his last year of eligibility for it. When asked whether he was considering a move to grade cricket the year after, he said he wasn't stressing about that just yet.
"I'm just hoping to score a few runs, take a couple wickets, make some new friends and get some good coaching along the way to develop some new skills," he said.
"I'm just focused on making that team and nothing past that really."
Cornish's first chance to impress as part of Penrith's Green Shield side will come on December 16 against Sydney University at Howell Oval.
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