A teenage cricketer from Helsby is among the nominees for this year’s BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
Rising star Sophie Ecclestone has been recognised for her achievements over the past 12 months, with the nomination capping a memorable time on the field during which she made her International Twenty20 and One-Day International debuts for England.
The 17-year-old, currently studying towards her AS levels at Helsby High School, joins nine other athletes on the award shortlist, with the top three – as chosen by an expert panel – named on Blue Peter last month, with the winner announced during the awards show on Sunday, December 18.
“I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Ecclestone.
“Looking back it has been a crazy year for me – to make my International Twenty20 debut in the summer against Pakistan, and then to get picked to go and play in the One-Day International series against the West Indies in the Caribbean – the last 12 months have been incredible and I have loved every second of it. This news is now the icing on the cake.”
Ecclestone, who currently plays for Lancashire, took up cricket aged seven at Alvanley and has also represented Chester Boughton Hall and Cheshire.
Ecclestone will be going up against the likes of Olympic gymnast Ellie Downie, who won the award last year, weightlifter Rebekah Tiler and Manchester City women’s footballer Georgia Stanway, for the coveted award which has been won in the past by a host of famous faces including Wayne Rooney and Andy Murray.
Other names vying for the crown this year are Keelan Giles (rugby union), Tom Hamer (swimming), Ellie Robinson (swimming), Lauren Rowles (rowing), Jess Stretton (archery) and Amy Tinkler (gymnastics).
But the cricket ace says she is just happen to be in the company of sports rising stars.
“I love everything to do with sport, and every year I look forward to watching BBC Sports Personality of the Year with my family before Christmas,” added the left-arm spinner.
“It’s unreal to think that I’ve been nominated for the Young Sports Personality of the Year. I’ve already had a brilliant few months, and this has just made it even better.
“It is an absolute honour to be included in the top ten alongside some of the best young sports stars in the world.”