Lauren revelling in ground-breaking role

May 10, 2022

LAUREN Smith is revelling in her ground-breaking role in Suffolk.

The 25-year-old is the first overseas female player to appear in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship as well as the first overseas player to represent Suffolk.

Lauren, who is playing for Division One side Woolpit, has already helped Suffolk to win the Women’s County T20 Group 4 Finals.

She took 2 for 21 and scored 58 off 44 balls versus Cambridgeshire in a seven-wicket win in the semi-final, before she returned figures of 4-1-9-5, including a hat-trick, and then scored 26 off 24 deliveries in a five-wicket win against Essex in the final at the weekend.

Lauren (pictured above) was born in Sydney in New South Wales, Australia and has played for NSW as well as both the Sydney Sixes and Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash in her homeland at the major Test venues and in front of some large crowds too.

An off-break bowler and right-handed batter, Lauren had previously played in England back in 2016 for Lancashire while turning out for Didsbury CC.

And she has quickly settled into life in Suffolk and playing for Woolpit CC, who heard she was looking to come over to England this summer and so engaged her as their overseas player for this season.

She said: “I was looking to play women’s cricket over here, but when this opportunity arose it was too good to turn down.

“I knew it would be different as I have never been around a men’s team before, but I enjoy being involved in different environments and experiencing different opportunities.

“It has certainly been a different experience but is one which will help me with my cricket career and also make me a better person through being around new people in a new environment also.”

Lauren said she knew of the first-class county sides and the teams playing in The Hundred, but admitted she did not know much about Woolpit or Suffolk before she arrived in the country.

“I arrived in early April and have hit the ground running playing in my first week here with the boys. I am getting to know everyone,” she said.

Lauren, who is also doing some coaching at Woolpit, has already scored a half-century in Division One of the Two Counties Championship.

She said: “I do stick out a little bit, but I do love all the eyes on me when I am out there batting or bowling. I just want to show them my skill and my level of cricket that I can play and I do love getting the boys out because they think they can hit me for a six or whatever.

“The other day I hit my first six and some of the blokes were a little bit in shock that this girl can actually play and 51 runs later they were a little on the back foot.

“It is definitely different just playing against men. Obviously they bowl a little bit faster and I can get hit over the fence a little bit further than I am used to!”

Lauren, who is staying with Woolpit club president Richard West MBE and his family in Woolpit, cited the difference between club cricket in England and that in Australia.

“The big difference is the way clubs are run over here – we are not as close back home – and I am really enjoying that kind of culture. There are more people involved behind-the-scenes over here,” she said.

Lauren, who has played T20s for the Australian Women’s 2nd XI and toured Sri Lanka, is hoping to break into the full national side, but knows she faces a tough challenge if she is to do so in the future.

“The Australian team is the best in the world right now – cricket in Australia is a few years ahead of what it is over here – and it is hard to break into the team, but that’s my aim,” she said.

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