To Luna Park for lift-off
Posted in England Women
It has been great having all the squad back together and with all the training sessions we’ve had in the first week we’re all starting to recognise our individual roles within the squad.
We were all looking forward to putting them into action in our first game on Friday against the New South Wales Breakers, our former coach Richard Bates’ new team. It was good to catch up with Batesy but even better to secure such a convincing win in our first game of the tour.
We bowled them all out for 99 and then knocked off the runs easily in 30-odd overs. We fielded 13 players so that everyone had a good run-out and it was great to have a good start to the tour.
On Saturday we had our only day off of the tour. I love Sydney and all it sights, so I spent it wandering Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. My favourite food of the tour is the sushi roll – it’s just like sushi rolls in England but bigger! I’ve introduced them to all the girls and even Laney’s got involved. Jack’s not quite so keen though!
On Sunday we trained again at the ground where we played NSW – the Alan Davidson Oval. The highlight of the session was our six-hitting competition where we all had a go in the middle to see who could hit the furthest ball. Our thick, fast bowler Katherine Brunt was the ultimate surprise champion and as a result won a cuddly bear koala the next day from Jack.
Monday was our first official warm-up game against the Australians. We bowled really well to restrict them to 214 on a good wicket with a quick outfield.
However, we got off to the worst possible start with the bat when Sarah Taylor was out on the first ball of the innings. Having got ourselves into a good position at 150 for four, with 15 overs to go, we had a major collapse and were all out for 189, 25 runs short.
Having dominated 90 per cent of the game it was gutting to face defeat. It was a bit of a wake-up call with the World Cup only a week away and a realisation that a bad few overs could cost you the tournament.
We regrouped the next day at practise with a few home truths from Laney which were completely justified. The players responded really well, but the afternoon spirit was dampened with the news of the terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
It was quite close to home with Gemma Broad, our analyst’s dad caught up in it all. Thankfully he is safely home now, but all our thoughts go to the Sri Lankan players and their families and those who lost their lives.
On Wednesday at our second warm-up game against the West Indies the girls responded exactly how we wanted them to. Squirt (Sarah Taylor) and Beth (Morgan) both made fifties and everyone contributed like we asked them to to make 212.
We bowled them all out for less than 100 on an old wicket and a slow outfield. All round it was a good day topped off by a visit to the Governor General’s for dinner.
I felt quite humbled to be there and the view from the house is the best in the world. Apparently that bit of land is the most expensive bit of land in the whole of Australia. We were complimented once again on our Paul Costelloe suits and were told that we were the best dressed there.
We were all up early on Thursday for a 7.15am core session in the park opposite the hotel with our strength and conditioning coach Ian Crump – the best in the business!
It was a good session watched by many of the Sydney commuters who thought we were mental as we trotted around the park with our therabands around our ankles! That was followed by a quiet day preparing for the opening ceremony at Luna Park.
We had a big tournament photo with all teams and officials on the steps outside the Opera House followed by a boat ride to the venue. Ian Healy was present as one of the tournament ambassadors and all the captains were involved in a quick Q&A session with him.
Being there with all the other squads made it real for us and it hit home exactly what we are playing for and everything we‘ve worked for is just days away.
We’re off to the capital Canberra tomorrow in preparation for our first game on Saturday against Sri Lanka.