BRAVE Lorraine Fivey is hoping it will be third-time lucky for her international dream.
The pool sharp-shooter from Crewe has been handed an England trial despite having a relatively indifferent season with the cue. Her performances last season narrowly qualified her for her third national team play-off, in March.
But it is a minor miracle she got there at all - after playing for three months with her arm in plaster! Now she is preying that success is on the menu at the third time of asking.
Lorraine, 25, said: 'I have earned a trial twice before, but it is really tough as you are basically playing the best 64 players in the country, and I didn't get through. But this time I have more experience of the big occasions.
'I had to play for a while with my arm in plaster and it did affect my form. It was badly broken, and required surgery and metal pins to be inserted.
'But I was determined to keep playing and earned a trial - only just but I am delighted with it. I have been playing pool for seven years and it has been my major dream to play for England since I started.'
Lorraine, who lives at West Street and works for Air Products, currently represents Staffordshire as Cheshire could not field a female team last season.
Her averages meant she was among the best in the county but had a nervous wait to see if that was enough to get the trial. The good news means she joins Crewe aces Dave Preece and Phil Malam, who have trials for the England men's team.
The talented trio will all travel to Great Yarmouth, on March 4, to face the best players from the other districts, plus the poorest eight from the current England squad of 16. Eight England places are up for grabs in both the male and female squads.
Lorraine will combine her trial at Great Yarmouth with playing for Staffordshire in the national finals, after the county won their midlands league.
She is now putting in around 20 hours of practice in every week, mainly at the Limelight Club and Rileys, in Crewe, in preparation for the events, and insists it is a labour of love despite the fact that pool is seen as a sport for men.
She said: 'I just love playing. There are definitely some people that women are of a lesser standard than men, but I am to put that right.
'The sport is growing significantly in popularity among women, and the excellent response for the recent Cheshire trials mean there will be a women's team again, and I will rejoin them in the future.
'I will be both nervous and excited on the big day, but it will be nice to be able to have Dave and Phil there. We will be able to support each other.'