Cottingham pupil to be England v West Indies mascot at Headlingley
A COTTINGHAM pupil has spoken of his excitement after being chosen as a mascot for the England cricket team.
Sport-mad Joseph Bottomley, 9, will appear at Headingley Stadium in Leeds on Friday, when England take on the West Indies.
He will toss the coin used to decide who chooses whether to bat or bowl and meet the teams before the match.
Louise Bennett, Joseph's teacher at Bacon Garth Primary, said: "We're very proud of him.
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"At sport, he really excels."
Joseph was selected as a mascot by the Yorkshire Cricket Board after a visiting coach spotted his enthusiasm for the sport.
"We were approached by the board and asked if we would like to take part in some cricket on a weekly basis," Miss Bennett said.
"We had an afternoon with them.
"They really liked Joe and realised what a talent he had, so they asked him to take part in a cricket club outside of school."
He started playing at Brough and Welton Cricket Club, and coaches say he is going from strength to strength.
Board development manager Reece Bird personally chose Joseph to join the players on the green.
He said: "I picked Joe because we've got a number of coaches who go into schools, and Joe stood out.
"He absolutely loved the coaching.
"He had never played cricket before he was coached and now he loves the game. It's a great opportunity for him to go to the match, dress up in all the England kit and be live on Sky Sports."
Joseph said he was looking forward to his big day out.
"I'm not going to be at school on Friday," he said. "I'm really excited about it – but I might be scared with all the people watching.
"I really like cricket because you get to hit a ball everywhere.
"I like batting best. You can hit the ball really hard."
Joseph said his friends were jealous of his chance to see the England team.
"And the girls are quite impressed," he said.
The Yorkshire Cricket Board encourages children to get involved in the sport.
It sends coaches to schools and aims to bring cricket to places where it is played less often.
Visit www.yorkshirecb.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.