A YOUNG Bedale High School pupil will soon be travelling thousands of miles to play schoolboy cricket in the South African summer.

Although he has travelled abroad on family holidays, the journey starting on February 14 will be a new experience for 12-year-old Bradley Elsworth, who lives at Nosterfield.

Bradley, a fast bowler who plays for his school as well as for Bedale and Kirkby Malzeard, is spending two weeks in South Africa with two teams of young cricketers from Northampton School for Boys, where his uncle, Roger Davies, is head of sport.

Bradley was invited to go with the party by Mr Davies. The first week of the trip falls during the half-term holiday and Bradley's mother, Claire, had to get permission from his school for him to be in South Africa during the second week.

The two-week tour, based in Paarl, will see the visiting teams playing matches against South African schools and there will be a chance to watch Sri Lanka play Canada in a World Cup match.

Bradley undertook a sponsored cycle ride to help meet the cost his trip and his kit was sponsored by nine local businesses .

Mrs Elsworth said: "Although he has been abroad on family holidays this will be his first trip to play cricket and his uncle will be with him.

"It will be a wonderful experience for him and he is of an age now where he will be able to remember it. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. He is very lucky."

Bradley, who has played the game since he was five and hopes to be a professional cricketer, is in his second year on the "pathways to excellence" scheme run by the Yorkshire Cricket Board for talented young players.

Five of the current England team have come through this scheme, which runs a ten-week coaching session during the winter. Bradley has had one successful trial for Yorkshire schoolboys