Landed in Canberra for our first game – walked down to the ground where I had only missed the first half hour. Suffice it to say, we won – our batters got a pretty good score, though at one point we thought we should have got 300, our #1 batter getting her 8th century equalling the record again, but then we struggled in the field with a few chances missed and some balls going over the head of fielders. Some quick dinner and then sleep, not going too bad.
Walked the three blocks up to the ground to find a few more regular family, friends and supporters added to by a few poms on holiday, who got a bit beered up for our normal support. A few Indians also came to support, complete with a loud drum which some of the players were not used to, ably supported by a number of local school kids, who had been split into England and India camps and were really getting into it! We did well to restrict them, getting regular wickets, although their last pair put on a record stand. Our girls knocked the required runs off for the loss of one wicket, with more than 10 overs to go, which was good against one of the top 4 sides, especially as the aussies, the holders, had managed to lose to the kiwis in their opening, rain affected, game.
Thursday was back to the North Sydney ground, again bumping into another supporter walking up the hill to the ground. We had rested one of our opening bowlers to give our 17 year old from Bath her first game. Not her day and the Pakistan openers got off to a fair start. We had picked two spinners, one of which I was frustrated we had left out for the previous game, and she proved me right getting 5 wickets from one end, whilst our other spinner was very economical from the end, exerting great pressure. We almost knocked off the required runs before lunch and then went across the road for a few drinks.
Saturday I picked up my hire car and took it out to one of Sydney’s suburbs for our game against NZ. Once I found the ground we had a great game, all but sealing our place in the final, the skipper getting 50 and 4 wickets, plus good runs from our lower order to just get past the psychological 200 mark. Even better, we heard as we were chatting with players and management after the game that the Aussies had lost to India, so were unlikely to make the final to defend their trophy – still statistically possible, but not likely!
Back to the ground where we had failed to have a game last year, so at least this time I knew where I was going and was in good time. We beat the West Indies quite easily, though not putting on as big of a score as we should have. Tomorrow the Aussies, but unless NZ loose to Pakistan, we will play them on Sunday, with India and Australia playing for 3rd on Saturday!
Up early and to the North Sydney oval, for our 5th game against the hosts and the old enemy! A number of my Ashes 08 t shirts were sported amongst the crowd, however, the aussie were in their typical beligerant mood, not much seen in this tournament and knocked us off for a below par score. They then batted well but steadily to surpass our target with 8 wickets left. Oh well, but as a number of supporters shouted – you’re still not in the final. The kiwis posted a massive score which the Pakistanis never really had a chance at getting. So England v NZ for the final on sunday, with the aussies and the indians facing off for third and fourth on saturday. The local pub seems to be reaping it in as every time we go in there it is busier than the last time! We drowned our sorrows at the end of a record equalling unbeaten run, but with the knowledge that this might get the girls up for sunday, and like the first game against Sri Lanka, a better time for an off day than on sunday.
Yesterday was the final and for some the nerves meant no breakfast – not a good plan when the ground runs out of food before lunch! We did well to restrict them, putting pressure on the kiwis and causing some errors. The first catch was a stonker and then catches were held and one of the team, Nicki Shaw who was to have been left out but came into the side when another squad member suffered a problem in the warm up, took advantage of her chance to take 4 wickets! A late stand got the nerves going again, but 166 looked like we should be victorious. As normal, for England cricket teams, the girls tried to make it hard for themselves – a couple of rash shots, an un-necessary run out and some good pressure, meant the same player, Nicki Shaw, guided the team toward the total with the winning runs scored by our young spinner, in a year off after her outstanding A level results and university. The team got their champagne to celebrate with, unlike the Ashes last year, along with a massive, expensive and new trophy as this is the first tournament under the global cricket body. Eventually we got to talk and congratulate the team, hugs all round among supporters and team members alike as the tensions were relieved. For those listening to live radio coverage, apparently you were treated to the head of England women’s cricket shouting support at the pitch, live on the radio! One of the team brought the trophy out and almost everyone got a picture with it, including me with the reading possie and then with Lottie the England captain!
Today, everyone seems to be suffering a bit of post match lull, but many are leaving today, including the team, but only after they have dragged themselves out of bed for celebratory pictures on the harbour. Suspect there might be a couple of sore heads there and they have a reception in London (lords?) the day they got home!