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Don't Worry, Be Happy

Posted in England Women

So England have reached the World Cup Final but the girls will tell you they have not achieved anything yet.

Last Saturday England met New Zealand – a dress rehearsal for the final if the White Ferns beat Pakistan on Thursday – and if Charlotte Edwards’ side can reproduce the form they showed that day then the World Cup will be winging its way back home courtesy of Qantas.

Edwards was awesome against New Zealand, hitting 57 to rescue the innings then claiming four wickets and a tumbling catch. Not bad considering she struggled to sleep the night before due to nerves.

Beth Morgan and Jenny Gunn had decent games too - 'Betty' finally dragging her sublime net form into the middle and Jenny smashing a rapid 22. I interviewed both for ECBtv after England had wrapped up a five-wicket win.

The venue for the game – Bankstown Oval - is famous for being Steve and Mark Waugh's old club and it is pretty obvious that they are proud of the twins, renaming the pavilion in their honour and adorning the place with photo upon photo of the two legends. As well as pictures of the pair in the baggy green, the Waughs appear in numerous Bankstown team photos, many of which show Mark sporting a rather awful mullet hairdo.

In the evening, a group of us, including contented coach Mark Lane and his assistant Jack Birkenshaw, headed out to Darling Harbour for dinner. Neither, however, seemed too impressed when I held up the departure from the hotel by going on a hunt for some deodorant. They were even less happy when they had to take shelter during the walk to the restaurant from a violent storm, the like of which I have not seen before.

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor leans into another drive during her innings against West Indies at Drummoyne

On Sunday the team were given a day off - some opted to rest, one group headed to Bondi Beach where Ebony Rainford-Brent had a bikini issue and gave sunbathers an eyeful as she attempted to tackle the waves, while a handful saw Coldplay live in concert.

After I had edited the videos from the previous day and written pieces to accompany them, I wandered down to Circular Quay to get a decent look at the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the Royal Botanical Gardens. One 'tourist attraction' I didn't bargain on seeing was a female contortionist who did things with her limbs I didn't know were even possible.

That evening a few of us went to Wagamama which was just around the corner from our hotel. It was quite a surprise to see the whole of the Australia team in there dressed in a variety of garish dresses, colourful skirts and afros to celebrate Lauren Ebsary’s birthday.

England face Australia on Thursday in a game which will act essentially as a tune-up for the final. I'm not sure anyone thought they would be saying that.

It was back to work on Monday with Isa Guha, the number one world ranked bowler, the latest victim to sit in front of my ECBtv video camera. She has a degree in biochemistry but luckily for me the interview stayed on cricket and didn't lurch towards her academic career.

Once I had edited the video and uploaded it, I dashed off to nets at the Alan Davidson Oval as the girls prepared for West Indies 24 hours later.

Once there I was the subject of some banter for wearing a pair of England football socks that were pulled halfway up my shin. I didn't think it was much of a fashion crime until Claire Taylor, who admitted a few days earlier she was one of the worst dressed players in the team, joined in and gave me some stick.

Perhaps still having nightmares from asking me to bowl last week, Jack instead instructed me to lob a few throw downs at Anya Shrubsole.

In another net, Sarah Taylor looked in awesome form. She is the most natural of all the batters with every shot in the book, almost all of them played with a flourish. Still only 19, she will probably break every batting record before she hangs up her gloves.

Swapping a white cricket ball for the video camera, I did a quick interview with Laney about tomorrow’s game against West Indies. Although clear favourites, it’s apparent that England will not be taking anything for granted knowing a win will earn a place in the final.

England did exactly what Lane wanted at the pretty Drummoyne Oval, which is situated on the Parramatta River. Apparently apartments which overlook both the ground and the water start at a cool $2m. I’ll have two in that case.

Victory owed much to the Taylors. Sarah scored a battling 78, an innings which displayed elegance and grit in equal measure, while Claire’s rapid 65 was timed to perfection, accelerating at the end when the power play was taken.

After a couple of video interviews with Charlotte and Sarah, I took the team bus back to the hotel. Strangely subdued despite booking a place in the final, the girls were quiet for most of the journey, apart from Lauren Griffiths who entertained herself by singing ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’.

It was an appropriate choice of song even if Lauren did an awful impersonation of Bobby McFerrin.

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