Caught other England supporters getting their tickets before heading into a very sunny stadium. I pretty quickly headed up the stadium to the shade expecting the sun to come over, but ended up moving back a row every couple of overs, eventually leaving my zip off legs somewhere, fortunately I retrieved them later when the sun set. Good game for the girls, Anya getting her first 5 wicket haul for England having done the same in one of the warm up games and the kiwis never really recovering – good for us, shame for the tv people. NZ men managed to keep SA under control with regular wickets until 4 sixes in a row including one straight over my head and caught about 6 rows back – earned him$200! Left at half time as despite long trousers and hoodie, was getting rather chilly. Watched NZ chase them down in the room and crashed out.
Afternoon to the Hamilton cricket ground where our tickets, once I had been sent all over the place to find mine, were ‘ground entry’. Found England parents on the far side of the ground in the stands, as normal not being equipped for open ground with the plethora of chairs and blankets seen around the ground.
England were on barn-storming form, put in they romped to an enormous total, something like their third highest and proved to be less than 10 behind where the kiwi men finished. Proved to be way to much for the ‘white ferns’ who were all out 48 short and never really looked in the game – two up with three to play. Not having a seat and not fancying finding a patch of grass, I headed back to I admit, astoundingly, to falling asleep as a chap I’d never heard of before this tour hitting the most sizes ever in a T20, over 10, and hitting the fastest century… not sure how many balls were used, but when I caught the replay it became routine after a while, NZ loosing with four overs remaining.
22/2 dawns rainy in Auckland as predicted and when I turn on the telly to get a forecast I find the highlights of the game I slept through part of in Hamilton and not a lot more happened! Looked up trains to Eden Park, from a couple of blocks away for less than $2, sounds good, but as I left it was raining again… carried on anyway and queued for ages for tickets to find most locals just buy them on the train. Lots got off at the same station, but once I found my ticket and got in found a pretty empty stadium and tickets we had seemed to be in the next county and behind the patio umbrella sheltering the tv cameras – quick consultation and a move to behind the bowlers arm, closer to the action and the cover if the rain came back! Fab game, we lost some quick wickets, tricky conditions with damp outfield, swirling wind etc Bit of biffing at the end and we had a chance of defending it and so we did, strangling their top order batters who hit out and got out and left the later batsmen not a lot of chance when the drizzle turned to rain and the groundsman revved his tractor to get the umpires to get out of his way in protecting the strip for the mens game! That was that as the rain got harder and thinking there was little chance of the chaps getting a game a number of us headed against the stream back to the city centre. We were wrong, they got a whole game in, NZ doing a very british job of talking themselves out of a win.
Over to the ground in the drizzle, where the weather came and went and came and went and every time we thought we would have a chance the next band came! All called off about 4 after watching some of the kiwi mens match with some of the players coming and going, and about 20 mins later the sun came out and stayed out for the evening, enough for the girls to play one side of a game of rugby, WAG scoring 4 tries, unopposed!
26/2 Game on and everyone ready to go early – keen to get a game on. We put them under pressure again despite some poor overs of bowling, 3 dropped catches and a missed stumping and they limped to the score they needed to win in the rain inAuckland. We tried to make it hard for ourselves, I think trying to get there too quickly, the sun went in and the wind got going and when I resorted to looking for a layer to put on two wickets fell, Jenny Gunn getting us to the end as she got us to respectability in Auckland. Prizes and bottles of wine (!) later, chance to catch up with players and families.
2/3 another rainy start so again I left late for the cricket, but hopeful that it would clear. A much shortened game saw our skipper hit an amazing 137 from 88 balls, hitting boundaries all over the place and setting a target of 223 (D/L) not far from the one day scores, despite being about half the overs. Kiwis had little chance and ended up over 50 runs short.
3/3 On checking my score book with the internet, worked out Squirt had just passed 2000 ODI runs, Lyds has equalled Tails with most ODI catches by an England player, Trig has moved to 10th in all time ODI wicket takers list, Lottie is less than 100 from passing the leading ODI run taker, and tomorrow is my 50th one day England game!
4/3 having won the one-day series, finally the weather was good enough to have a normal full day of cricket, starting on time, with us again putting the kiwis under pressure despite a couple of 50’s from them, bowling them out for 220. Two early wickets brought a different centurion, with a 200 run stand between Squirt and Lyds getting us within 5 of the total, Lyds stumped but squirt ending unbeaten on 109 from 113. Celebrations, photos, speeches and beers followed, before we left the girls to their BBQ, headed back to town to pack bags and head in different directions.
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