Long wait over - and we savoured every minute
Regular ecb.co.uk columnist Clare Taylor is back - writing an exclusive diary throughout the 2005 Ashes Summer
After a 12-year wait for one-day success over Australia, we travelled to Worcester looking for a Test victory that had eluded us for 42 years.
Worcester has to be one of the most picturesque grounds in county cricket. Looking from the home team balcony, the backdrop of the cathedral is quite exquisite and on a sunny day, this is what cricket is all about… so cue the rain!
Play was delayed by four hours on the opening day due to heavy showers and we quickly reviewed our initial instinct to bat first and inserted the Aussies in seamer-friendly conditions. This decision soon paid dividends with captain Belinda Clark running Keightley out in the second over.
Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn bowled with good pace and direction and the visitors were soon reeling on 45 for four.
Claire Taylor had to leave the field after taking a diving catch with a strain in her buttock, and by the close of play we were in a very good position with the Aussies 120 for seven.
My pec injury still hadn’t recovered fully in time for the Test, so I made early morning visits to the gym to keep myself in shape for the remaining one-dayers and was a regular visitor to physio Sue Hughes.
Early into the second day Katherine Brunt (left) steamed in and cleaned up the tail, picking up five wickets in the process and claimed her first match ball. The Aussies closed on 131 and in a tricky spell just before lunch, we found ourselves on 56 for two.
Due to her injury, Tails went down the order to number five, with Laura Newton as her runner. It was quite slow going in the afternoon session, but we were in the driving seat and with play being extended by an hour there was no need for us to jeopardize our advantage.
Everyone chipped in with the bat and when stumps were drawn we held a lead of 91 with the final pair of Brunt and Isa Guha at the crease.
The bowlers extended our lead to 158 on the third day with Katherine adding a very stylish half century to her match stats. Emma Liddell was the pick of the Australian bowlers with 4-57.
Brunt obviously took quite a liking to the Worcester ground and had picked up two further wickets early into the Australian second innings .Connor astutely rotated her bowlers and introduced Lottie into the attack just after lunch with immediate effect, the removal of Fitzpatrick.
The visitors slumped to 67 for seven and an amazing victory in three days looked in sight with the visitors still 81 runs adrift.
Nitschke and Kate Blackwell then dug in and batted with great patience and application ending the day on 179 for seven.
Coach Richard Bates is not a great watcher of cricket and nervously wanders around. However, we have found a way to calm him a little; we have introduced him to the number puzzles which seem to be all the rage, Su Doku - keeps him quiet for hours!
Brunt took a leaf out of her hero Darren Gough’s book at the start of the fourth day, picking up a further two wickets with consecutive balls, and regaining the Ashes came closer.
Liddell and Nitschke had other ideas, putting on 50 for the last wicket. So with five hours of play left a total of 75 was required to bring the Ashes home.
Not before wobbling a bit at 39 for four, Arran and Lydia saw us home. The rest of the squad stood arm in arm on the balcony cheering the final runs and the place erupted once the game had been won.
The celebrations were excellent: champagne and hugs all round and much jumping around to Amarillo! We had waited a long time for this and were going to savour every minute of it.
Katherine Brunt was rightly named player of the match and the series and has truly announced herself on the international stage.
Celebrations carried on till late with messages of congratulation from all over the country - even from the men at Trent Bridge.
We are now down in Taunton to finish off the one-day series, hopefully with the same result… a series win!