A schoolboy took his place among the country’s best young cricketers when he represented London and the East of England at a cricket festival.

Jamal Richards, 15, from Walthamstow, will next year join the Essex County Cricket academy and was among just 14 players selected from across the region’s counties.

The yearly Bunbury Cricket Festival, which took place in Essex last week, is a showcase of the country’s 56 most talented young players.

Jamal attends Norlington School for Boys which counts England cricketing legend Graham Gooch among its alumni.

The London and East of England team made the final against the midlands team.

Allrounder Jamal said: “It was a big occasion but I went there and played my normal game. I am trying to keep a level head about it all.

“I am just going to work hard on my game and keep trying to get better. Putting the hard work in has got me this far so am just going to keep going.”

Jamal picked up his first cricket bat aged just two after watching the game on television with his granddad Franklin Dickson, 65.

Mr Dickson said: “We are so proud of him. He has wanted this from a very young age and he has put in the hard work and got his reward.

“This was essential a trial for the England team so he is on the ECB pathway towards getting an England cap. It is an incredible achievement.

He added: “He would stand in front of the television with his plastic bat and pretend to bat aged just two. He had a passion for it right away.

“There are still holes in the passage way near my home where he would practice his bowling. What he has achieved so far is everything to do with hard work and practice."

Mr Dickson added: “He still has a long way to go but he goes to the same school as Graham Gooch went to and he has done more than he did at that age, so that is a very good start.”

Norlington school assistant principal Paul Hobbs said: “We first became aware of Jamal when he was in year 5 and played in a Primary Cricket Tournament that our young leaders were involved in. His cricketing ability stood out a mile even at that young age.

“Jamal's mum specifically sent him to Norlington due to our commitment to cricket. We are delighted to have been able to support Jamal as he develops through the elite player programme, I really think he has the ability to go all the way, I'm looking forward to watching him at Lords one day.”