OLD Elean and talented cricketer Millie Oddi is preparing to travel to the other side of the world to further improve her skills in the sport.

Fast bowler Millie, 19, has hit the headlines on several occasions following her continued cricket success over the last few years, including when she was selected to play for Essex Women.

In January 2018, Millie, who left King’s Ely Sixth Form this year after completing her A Levels, will be travelling to Australia to play for Melbourne Cricket Club. Millie, who is from Witchford near Ely, will spend three months with the club before going on to travel Australia with friends.

Millie said: “I’m really excited to be going out to Melbourne in the New Year. The reason I am doing it is to gain more experience in a place where the standards are set to be higher and to improve and bring on my own game. A couple of other girls often go out for half seasons/full seasons from counties. I decided about a year ago that I wanted to do the same, and so got in contact with a friend out there who used to be the captain at Essex two years ago. She put me in contact with Melbourne Cricket Club and since then they’ve been really helpful and are currently setting up accommodation for me with one of the families and also some jobs here and there to help my money situation. The idea is also that by playing out there for those three months I will come back ready for my English season with Essex and should be a stronger and better player from all of the experience.”

Millie was involved with the youth performance programme in Essex for around three years before making the step up to the senior women’s side last year. She played regularly for Ely City Cricket Club and was first encouraged to take up cricket while at Rackham Primary School in Witchford by the then head teacher Sid Wales.

She said: “I was very much into all sports when I was at Rackham, and this was actively encouraged by Sid Wales, who was the head master at the time. I began playing kwik cricket in Year 3 and started playing for the 1st team in Year 4 and in Year 6 I was selected for the Cambridgeshire county side.”

After leaving Rackham, Millie joined King’s Ely, where her passion for the sport continued and she was eventually introduced to the coaching team at Essex.

She said: “Olivia Thorogood, Head of Girls Sport at King’s Ely, suggested that I went along to meet the head coach at Essex Women’s and girls. From that point on, I became a member of the Essex performance players squad and the U15 team.”

Director of Sport at King’s Ely Senior, Ben Edmondson, said: “We are very proud of Millie and all of her achievements. We hope that this productive use of her gap year has the desired benefits as she continues her cricketing education. It is a great step for any young athlete to challenge yourself in an environment outside your comfort zone and we admire Millie’s strength and determination to get the most out of her abilities. Above all else, we hope that she has a great time in a fantastic place to play cricket.”

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