Carly hoping to win her first world title
TWICE European champion Carly Smith begins her bid for world glory in Blackpool on Monday.
The Evening Telegraph Sportswoman of the Year has been drawn against Ireland’s Cathy Hunt in Monday’s opening round, by which time she hopes to have already made a winning start for England in the team event.
Smith is the vice captain of the England team who bid to defend their title and they will be clear favourites.
The 29 year-old is hopeful of team glory but warned: “We’re the reigning champions but we’re also the team everyone that wants to beat. We’re confident but we’re not taking anything for granted.”
England begin by facing Wales and then Australia and Northern Ireland on a busy opening day on Sunday. Smith will then be involved in team matches against Ireland and Scotland on Monday before beginning her singles campaign that night.
As far as that singles tournament is concerned, Smith admits she is unsure what to expect as work commitments have prevented her from playing as often as she would like.
She added: “I’m playing okay but it’s difficult to predict how I will do because I haven’t been playing as much as usual.
“That said, I won two open competitions at Leicester recently and also won three out of four frames as the county team beat Norfolk at the weekend. I’ve been practising a little so I’m going there hopeful of playing well.
“If I beat Cathy I will play Sharon Dickson in the next round. She has a bye in the opening round and was fourth seed last year so wouldn’t be an easy opponent, but if I play well I can give anybody a good game.”
Two years ago, she lost to Dickson 6-3 in her opener so if the pair come together in the second round this time she’ll be keen to revenge.
Smith, who has twice reached the quarter-finals, has been in good form this year although she has not been blessed with luck.
She lost to nine-time world champion Sue Thompson in a last frame decider in the quarter-finals of the UK Ladies Tour opener and also went down in the deciding frame against Kim O’Brien in the final of the European Championships, where she helped England extend their 100 per cent winning record in the team event.
The former national champion won the player of the tournament award for the team event at last year’s World Championships, having won 23 of her 30 frames. But she only played one frame in the final as England quickly wrapped up an 8-1 victory over Wales.
The singles didn’t go so well though as she lost 6-1 to Lynette Horsburgh in a battle of the thenworld and European champions.
Fellow city potter Liz Disney makes her debut at this level after coming through the qualifying stages. She faces Ireland’s Sandra Bryan in the opening round.
BIDDING FOR WORLD GLORY: Liz Disney (left) and Carly Smith.