Eyes on the World Cup
Posted in England Women
The girls played an extremely tough match against an under-19 men’s state side in their final game of the tour.
After holding a tactical centre wicket practice the day before and sharing one of Shawsy’s (Paul Shaw, Women and Girl’s High Performance Manager) famous ‘reflection’ sessions on this, the coaching staff waited with anticipation and nerves for what lied ahead.
We knew this match would be tough for the girls and hoped they put practice into performance. As it turned out, we couldn’t have asked any more of them.
We were met by 38 °C, a dusty outfield and smoke. We arrived eventually after our driver took the ‘scenic route’, at one point being given directions by three men, all pointing in different directions.
Jen Halsted lost the toss after a quick warm-up and the opposition captain sent us in, after consulting Geoff Lawson, who politely suggested it was in their best interest.
The girls batted a near perfect innings - they kept it simple and remembered all we had discussed in training. There were glimpses of brilliance along the way, Fran Wilson and Jen were the main run contributors with the team scoring a very competitive 251 for eight off our allocation of 50 overs against a very strong bowling attack.
All fired up the Academy side hit the field and Crossy (Kate Cross) provided the team an early boost with a favourable LBW decision. The team did their very best to control the steady flow of runs but ultimately the boys' power at the crease proved to be the difference with some phenomenal strokes in conditions they knew all too well.
Both Shawsy and I have reflected on what we saw from the girls and can honestly say the side would have competed with any women’s team in the world with their performance.
The most pleasing aspects for us in the field were that the girls bowled in pairs to a plan and in the field they controlled the batters' scoring options and stayed committed and enthusiastic throughout the game.
The girls left the field top to toe with red dust and dirt. The effort and performance was like I have never seen before from a losing side. Two days to go and the girls are really making the most of their opportunity. Where else can you go and have guys happy to line up and bowl at you for hours on end without expecting a bat themselves?
For me, this trip has most definitely been an extremely useful experience, especially considering some of these girls may be back here in 2013 for a World Cup.
The opportunity to experience these conditions and what to expect, both on and off the field will massively improve their ability to step off the plane and perform here for England.
The improvement I have seen from this group of players in such a short length of time is mind boggling. It really does make you wonder just how good they can be in the future.