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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 09:55 GMT
Making a name for herself
By Jamie Lillywhite

Ebony Rainford-Brent (pic courtesy of UCL)
Ebony is looking forward to her first England tour (Pic: UCL)

There are some truly mind-boggling names in cricket.

Many of them are Sri Lankan - Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas being a prime example.

But rivalling Vaas is the newest member of the England women's cricket team, Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent.

It puts one in mind of the AA Milne poem 'Disobedience' (James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree etc).

"When exams start and you have to fill in your name I used to get a bit stressed out!" the 23-year-old told BBC Sport.

"Because I was going to be the last child in the family, they decided to give me names of everybody so no-one could complain - I think there had been problems in the past."

Some previous articles about her have the Camellia and Rosamond reversed.

"They probably have it the right way as it is on my passport but the other way was easier for me to learn!" she explained.

But there is far more to EJCLRC Rainford-Brent than just a very long name. Hers is a classic tale of triumph against adversity, which culminated in selection for England's tour of India this winter amid the pandemonium of the final year of her chemistry degree.

Her introduction to cricket came courtesy of the London Community Cricket Association, who visited Ebony's primary school in her final year.

"I was playing every sport under the sun at that stage, but the cricket went quite well, I was the only girl there and they said why didn't I go down to The Oval for some courses.

The NHS told me I should give up playing any form of sport full stop

Ebony Rainford-Brent

"Then I played for London Schools, but to me it was still no different to any other sport but then I got scouted for Surrey and from there it went full flow.

"By the age of 14 or 15 I was in the England set-up but I didn't get much one-on-one coaching until I was about 16 or 17 so for a long time my technique was a bit rough."

Her development, however, was interrupted by a serious back injury.

"When I was about 15 bowling at The Oval I had a bowl and felt something pull and for a couple of days it felt sore but apart from that it was OK.

"Then it got worse and worse and I went to see people, but because of my age and the NHS - as much as they tried - not having the funding to get stuck into it, it was put down to back spasms.

"When I was 19 I got another pull and that was the end of it for a couple of years for me, it turned out I had two prolapsed discs and all sorts of problems.

"I ended up having to take a year out of Uni because it coincided with my exams and I was in a lot of pain.

"The NHS told me I should give up playing any form of sport full stop, because of the nerve damage and lots of other problems."

But then followed another of the welcome interventions that have shaped Ebony's career.

She was put in contact with the TASS programme - Talented Athletes Scholarship Scheme - who helped to guide her on the road to recovery.

"I was seeing physios, chiropractors and all sorts in that first year to see if I could ever get back to playing sport - but the furthest thing from my mind was bowling.

"I wasn't sure how my body would cope but I just gradually got into the batting and then this winter bowling but if you had asked me a year ago I would not have been sure of even playing."

Fortunately, the injury abated and she now combines a hectic training schedule with studying into the small hours, although the studies will be put on hold for three weeks when she tours with the England team in Februrary.

"I have not stopped smiling," she said of her selection.

"It's been such a long journey and I'd been in England A games but you're never sure if you're going to make that next step."

And the last of her sporting worries is over now too after a look at her tour kit.

"I was a bit concerned my name wasn't going to fit on the shirt," she added.

SEE ALSO
England women aim for final spot
11 Jan 07 |  Women's cricket
Greenway regains her England spot
04 Jan 07 |  Women's cricket
Taylor ton earns Lord's honour
19 Oct 06 |  Women's cricket
England women unveil Taunton base
29 Aug 06 |  Women's cricket


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