LIAM Cain can count himself among the state's top under 14s country players following his selection to the Country Thunder Western Riverina team to take part at the Cricket NSW State Challenge.
Players were originally set to be picked based on a mix of club, representative and Kookaburra Cup performances but the cancellation of the latter due to bushfires near Albury robbed selectors of a chance to assess the talent on offer.
However, Cain had evidently made a big enough impact from his previous representative and club cricket matches to earn a place at the challenge in Dubbo next week.
Cain was stoked to earn selection to the next stage.
"It feels unreal to be picked," he said.
"I know a lot of the boys in that team. We'll play a mix of T20s and 50 over games there."
Cain is most excited for the longer format matches, which he'll play alongside eight other Western representatives and four Riverina players.
Cain's father Stephen said he earned the chance to play at the next level after putting in plenty of practice.
"It's fantastic to see him get picked," he said.
"He's been trying all his life to get going with his cricket and he's got his chance now so we'll see how he goes. I'm very proud of his achievements."
Both the under 13s and under 14s NSW State Challenge boys' carnivals take place in Dubbo from Monday through to Thursday next week, with Cain and his Thunder squad coming together for a training camp on Sunday.