Vinny the Viking has ramped up the pressure on Lanky ahead of this weekend’s blockbuster Vitality Blast Finals Day when the two counties go head to head, admitting Lancashire’s giraffe is his biggest rival in the Mascot Derby.

“No, no, I don’t think you understand,” says Vinny. “Lanky’s my tallest rival.

“Have you see the size of him? He’s 18ft, 3inches or something!

“But that big lummox has got no chance of winning the mascot race. He’ll get stuck in the netting they have around about halfway through. That’s my prediction.”

It is certainly fighting talk from Vinny, the 2015 champion, who is aiming to make it a Yorkshire double on the day at Edgbaston this coming Saturday.

“What a day it’s going to be,” continued the Scandinavian superstar, now residing in Pontefract.

“On the field, Ottis and the boys have qualified and will be playing Lancashire in the semi-final. And then I’m going all out to win the mascot race.”

A large part of Vinny’s preparation for his big day has been watching re-runs of the 2015 final when he pipped Somerset’s Stumpy to the post, called home by the inimitable voice of David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.

“Great memories,” continued Vinny. “Me and Stumpy were neck and neck going into the home stretch and then he ended up tripping over a piece of rope which was part of the nets for the players’ warm-ups.

“Did I feel sorry for Stumpy? Yes, I did. Would I have felt sorry if it had been Lanky? Absolutely not.”

Vinny was glued to the TV last Wednesday evening as Yorkshire claimed a thrilling one-run win over Surrey, with Jordan Thompson defending just five off the final over.

“Tommo! What a guy,” he went on. “He’s my hero. It’s all those hours we spent in the gym together at Headingley doing press ups.

“Simon Doull said on the commentary that he celebrated like a WWE wrestler when we won. And he’s right, he did. But I’ve already been onto Tommo saying that if he takes a wicket against Lancs, he needs to celebrate by doing the worm.

“It’s my favourite dance move, and I’d absolutely love to see him give it a go.”

You have probably realised by now that Vinny is full of confidence ahead of Saturday.

“We’re going to win, it will be amazing. Our first Blast trophy is coming home. I’ve absolutely no doubt about that,” said Vinny, who has loved his time at Headingley this summer.

“Meeting all the kids watching our games has been amazing. High-fives, selfies, asking me for autographs. They’re the best days of the year for me.

“It would be brilliant to see plenty of you guys down at Edgbaston on Saturday.

“Come on the Vikings. Let’s Go!”

Though he doesn’t expect Lanky to pose him too many issues in the Mascot Derby, he has identified a couple of dangers which loom large.

“Syd the Shark from Sussex. He’s always there and thereabouts, biting at your ankles,” added Vinny. “And Steeler the Dog from Northants. I’ve had a few issues with him in the past as well.

“Jaws and Paws, I call those two. It won’t be easy, but I’m sure I can take them both down.”

MASCOT PROFILE: Vinny the Viking

Age: 1230
Height: 6 ft 1
Weight: 140kg
Hobbies: Press-ups
Sporting Hero: Jordan Thompson
Food: Spaghetti Carbonara
Film: Re-runs of 2015 Finals Day mascot race
Favourite holiday destination: Minnesota

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