CRICKET: Smith savouring Arabian delight

Linsey Smith (front row, far left) with the victorious MCC team at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi

Linsey Smith (front row, far left) with the victorious MCC team at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi

First published in Sport by , Sports reporter specialising in horse racing. Call me on 01865 425453

Oxfordshire's Linsey Smith is eager to gain more representative honours after helping the MCC triumph in a tournament in Abu Dhabi.

The 17-year-old, from Thame, played in two of the group games as the MCC Development XI went on to lift the inaugural Sport Arabia Women’s Under 19 ARCH Trophy.

Opening the bowling, the left-arm medium pacer took 1-9 off six overs as MCC – who were effectively an England team – beat Devon by 113 runs at the Zayed Stadium Nursery Ground.

And then she followed up with 1-3 off five overs as first change in MCC’s emphatic 123-run victory over Essex at the Zayed Stadium’s main ground where England’s men played Pakistan in a Test match last year.

Smith, who plays her club cricket at Aston Rowant, said: “I only played two, but we won as a team, so it was a really good tour.

“For me it was an experience of having independence and playing somewhere nice and hot and on different wickets as well and adapting to it.

“They were quite slow out there, so I had to work on slower balls and variations and had to take that from training into matches.

“We played a couple of games on the international ground as well and it was a massive eye-opener really, and to pull the Three Lions shirt on has given me a definite focus for the future.”

She also took plenty of encouragement from her own performances.

“I am really proud of my economy rate,” she added.

“Against Devon I got Amara Carr out and she is an England Academy player, which was good. It got my tour away to a good start and made the win a bit easier.”

However, it wasn’t enough to earn her a place in the team for the final where MCC defeated Sussex by 18 runs.

“I thought I was in with a good chance,” she added. “I had a niggling back for a bit. “It was not too bad, but I just missed out. It was a very close call.”

Now Smith, who is in the sixth form at Lord Williams's School, Thame, will join up with the squad for a training and assessment camp with head coach Jonathan Finch at Loughborough later this month.

And then she is going on tour with Berkshire women to La Manga in Spain at Easter when they will play Ireland’s women in three Twenty20 matches and two 50-overs-a-side contests.

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