Following in Spanish steps
Posted in England Women
After a three-hour drive down to Heathrow, a 10-hour flight and a two-hour bus trip we eventually arrived at Potchefstroom. We’re staying in a sports village which has everything we need on site. It must be good as the Spanish men’s football team used it at the World Cup and they didn't do too badly.
We had a relaxing first afternoon which involved recovery in a swimming pool that was more like an ice bath as the water was so cold, before we had our opening function with the South African team.
My legs still felt heavy from the flight so wearing heels wasn’t my idea of fun. It wasn’t long before we were all starting to feel the effects of the flight and disappeared to bed.
Tuesday was our first training session in gale force winds. We went down the stairs then walked about 50 metres to the nets - that's the closest net area we will ever have.
Some of us have played at this ground before in 2005 against Australia in the semi-final of the World Cup. It is a lovely ground, typical style for SA with grass banks and wooden shacks all around the ground.
In the net session we had some boys come down to bowl at us and we did laugh when we asked for a right arm medium-pace bowler and a guy 6ft 8in tall turned up. He got sent straight back and replaced by a slightly shorter bowler.
We decided to go out for dinner that night and came across a restaurant called Beef Boys grill which sounded right up our street. Our whole table ordered steak and it didn’t disappoint - it had to be one of the best meals we have had. I think a few of the team would happily eat steak every night.
The walk back proved interesting, walking under so many trees with the amount of lightning around, of which I am really not a fan. This is my third time to South Africa and have still not got used to the storms over here.
After a morning training session on Wednesday most of the team went to a coaching session for girls in the local area. Isa and I were on throwing coaching and I did laugh when one girl closed one eye to aim - that's not something I taught her.
It was a lovely afternoon and the kids were brilliant. I was speaking to one of the teachers and she was telling me that these kids go to bed hearing gun shots most nights and it’s not unusual to see people running around with stab wounds.
These kids don’t know any different and yet they love cricket and all had massive smiles on their faces. I think we made an impact and may have a few more England supporters at our game on Friday.
Our last training day turned into a Twenty20 warm-up against a local boys' team. It was a great chance to add the finishing touches to our preparations before the first ODI on Friday.