BURY cricketer JJ Fielding has been selected for Lancashire Cricket Academy.

The teenager is one of 12 boys to be recruited into the county cricket club's academy this year.

At just 16 years old, he is one of only two players to be selected at his age group, with the new recruits being up to 19 years old.

The selection is a huge boost to the Greenmount player's chances of becoming a professional cricketer, with only the highest-quality youngsters accepted into the academy each year.

Fielding, who plays for Ramsbottom's first team in the Lancashire League, will now be under the wing of top Lancashire coaches Mark Chilton and Gary Yates and will tour India with the academy this year.

The number-one-ranked batsman and fielder in his age group in Lancashire, his call-up into the county club's academy was the culmination of a year of great achievement for the youngster which also saw him selected for the North team as an opening batsman in his age group, attend the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] camp at Loughborough University and play at the Bunbury Festival where only the most talented boys from county teams are invited.

His impressive performance at the Bunbury Festival in August led to the England selectors picking him when they whittled the 56 boys on show down to the 24 known as 'The Best of Bunbury' who were then invited to play at the ECB headquarters at Loughborough University.

It helped put him on the England Player Pathway and in a strong position to be selected for an England Under-16s team tour to Sri Lanka this year.

He played in the u15s at Lancashire last season and stepped up to the Lancashire Academy and u17s teams on occasion.

Fielding comes from a family of cricketers, and plays with both his dad, Jonathan, and 18-year-old brother Brad at Ramsbottom.

JJ has played for Lancashire Cricket Club age groups since he was 10, and captained the u10s in his first season, leading them to victory at the cricket festival at Kings College in Taunton.

He moved from Ramsbottom CC to Woodbank CC at the age of 12 where he was given the opportunity to open the batting in the second team, which played a huge part in his development.

Two years later he returned to Ramsbottom where he opened the batting in the first team at just 14, playing in the same team as his dad and brother and mentored by captain Tom Parton.

During the season JJ won the Lancashire League's u23s man-of-the-month award with some superb batting performances, including half-centuries – an achievement which earned him recognition in the 2017 edition of Wisden.

His precocious talent was further recognised that year when he was selected for the Lancashire League's u23s inter-league team.

Due to the great demand for his services in recent years he has been unable to play inter-league games and has not played junior cricket since he was 13, apart from for Bury District.

He won the Lancashire Cricket Club age-group player-of-the-year for three years running from 2015 to 2017, in the last of those years being named in the county Emerging Player Programme.

His family believe the support he has received from his school, Woodhey High, has been important both to his cricket development and his education.

Due to his talent and success, the Bury boy has been given a two-year full-boarding scholarship at the prestigious Shrewsbury School which boasts one of the best cricket centres in the country.

His mum, Kerry, said: "These are exciting times for JJ.

"He was over the moon at being selected for Lancashire's academy but to get the news of his scholarship too is fantastic.

"He has put in a lot of time and effort to get where he is and, with his GCSEs looming and his time at Old Trafford with the Academy coaches, it looks like there's a lot of hard work still to come.

"His school has been great supporting him and I must say a special thank-you to Dave Leighton at Lancs who has worked with JJ over the last few years with some one-to-one coaching sessions that made a huge difference to his cricket."