Student Cricketer Selected to Play for England in Inaugural International Competition

Libby Thomas
Libby Thomas

Libby Thomas is among those who will board the plane for Spain as part of the NCCA (National Counties Cricket Association) England Women’s squad. The squad will be a milestone in the history of the game, as it makes its debut at the inaugural Women’s European Championships.

This is Libby’s first call up to represent England.

“I am very excited to be selected and cannot wait to take part in the tournament,” said the 19-year-old, who is in the second year of a degree in Forensic Psychology. “As a player I believe that this tournament will benefit me greatly because it will allow me to gain valuable experience and give me opportunities to test my skills in another country.”

The NCCA England team, also known as England XI, is comprised of non-professional cricketers so it cannot include those who play for the England first team. A men’s NCCA team has competed for several years.

The newly-formed Women’s team will face sides from Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain in the T10 competition, starting on Sunday (December 17) and concluding on Friday, December 22. England Women’s campaign starts against Austria on Sunday (December 17). England XI will play the other four competing countries twice during the event, held in Malaga, to determine the line-up for Finals Day.

Libby, of Swansea, South Wales, has been playing cricket since she was eight and is an opening batter and wicket-keeper. “I started playing as I used to get bored watching my brother playing and decided to join in instead,” she said. “I find that cricket is a good way to relieve stress and allows you to make a variety of friends in different areas. Moreover, the competitiveness of cricket is good as it allows me to strive to be the best I can be and is always pushing me to get better.”

Ultimately Libby’s ambitions in the sport are to play for the England first team and one day take part in the Ashes and the Cricket World Cup.

“I think that it is great that this is the first women's team to take part in this tournament and it will be another great experience to show what this squad can do within a new environment,” she added.

Libby has previous played for Wales and is part of the Central Sparks Academy set-up, the centre of excellence for women's cricket in the West Midlands. This is one of eight regional academies within the women's elite player pathway designed to give talented players the training and guidance to reach professional levels.

She also plays for the University of Worcester BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) team.

Libby is supported by the University’s Sports Scholarship programme, which gives elite athlete students a range of support and guidance, such as financial support to attend sporting events or training, but also tailored nutritional or strength and conditioning advice.

“Balancing cricket and studies is a big task and makes me very busy, but I find it easier to balance the two with scheduling and the enthusiasm I have for both,” she said. “The scholarship I have here at Worcester helps me be more flexible and less worried when both of these interests collide.”