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Gunning down the tourists

Posted in England Women

Jenny Gunn

Jenny Gunn helped England record a convincing 4-0 series win over South Africa

On August 2 we drove to Reading to meet up with the rest of the England team. It was really good to meet up again and we had a good session to kick off the tour against South Africa.

The whole team is fighting fit, well, except physio Sue Hughes who hopped into our hotel on crutches with her leg in a cast after she got injured playing basketball. It’s not too often your physio gets injured!

Three days later we performed most of our training session in the rain. Despite the weather there was still a good buzz going around the team although we were all shocked the next day as it was so hot and humid for our first ODI at Canterbury. We could have been anywhere in the world.

After South Africa won the toss and chose to field first, we got off to a great start on a slow wicket. Squirt [Sarah Taylor] and Shaggy [Caroline Atkins] looked good and it showed as we got to 99 before we lost our first wicket.

Squirt had just brought up her 50 before she smashed one back to the bowler who managed to hang on to it. Shaggy went not long after in exactly the same way for 38. Lottie [Charlotte Edwards] and Tayls [Claire Taylor] just carried on and increased the rate before Lottie was out for 38 and Tayls was run out on 83. We finished on 254 for six.

Jenny Gunn

Jenny celebrates with her England team-mates after taking a wicket during the recent series with South Africa

We did not get off to the best of starts and South Africa rode their luck but once we got one wicket we were able to get through the middle order. Holly [Colvin] was the pick of our bowlers, taking 3-17, while Isa [Guha] took 2-18 - all the bowlers were backed up in the field. We finally bowled them out for 133 to go one-up in the series.

The next day we were quite busy as we travelled from Canterbury to London and had training at Lord’s. Bowling was difficult in the nets as the wickets were so good - even a good length delivery was dispatched, so I was looking forward to my turn to bat.

I got the call to pad up and was standing next to the nets about to go in when the heavens opened. Just my luck! Everyone had to run for cover which resulted in the last batters having throw-downs indoors.

Every game you play at Lord’s is special but for Lydia [Greenway] and Nikki [Shaw] it was a slightly bigger deal as they were both making their 50th appearance for England.

We batted first and both Squirt and Shaggy set off like a train. It was quite funny as at Canterbury, Nikki and Beth [Morgan] were reading the match programme and talking about the record first wicket partnership which was 247. I said that would not be beaten.

How wrong could I have been? Only two days after saying that the record was broken and now stands at 268. It was brilliant to see Shaggy bringing up her century followed shortly after by Squirt. They ended on 145 and 129 respectively to help us get to 310 for three.

Nunny [Katherine Brunt] came out fired up and picked up early wickets and we created pressure through some sharp fielding. As if batting wasn’t enough for Shaggy she was a ball magnet and was regularly running to the boundary. She just kept going!

It’s not often your opening fast bowler bowls ten overs straight up but Nunny was getting wickets and no-one was going to take the ball out of her hand. She ripped through the South Africans and finished with 5-25. We bowled them out for 85 to win by 225 runs. It was a great day and one that none of us will ever forget.

Caroline Atkins

England opener Caroline Atkins raises her bat after scoring a fine 145 against South Africa at Lord's

Three days later we were at Shenley looking to win the series, but things did not quite go quite to plan when we batted. We lost early wickets and there was only Ebony [Rainford-Brent], who was out on 42, and Lydia, who came in at five and steadied things, that made runs. Wickets still kept falling at the other end but fortunately Lyd got fifty and had a 35 run partnership with Holly to help us get to 195.

Isa was rested so Nunny opened the bowling with Nikki. As she did at Lord's, Nunny once again got the breakthrough but then nothing really happened until a double bowling change to bring on both our spinners saw us pick up seven wickets. Holly finished with 3-20 and Boggy [Laura Marsh] 4-19 to wrap up the game and the series.

We had two training days before our Fourth ODI and yet again the rain had returned which meant indoor training. Anya [Shrubsole] had to run through the adjoining café with someone holding the doors open as the cricket hall wasn’t long enough for her run up!

Lottie won the toss and we chose to field as it was quite a damp wicket. Anya, making her debut, opened the bowling and was pretty quick.

South Africa had a good partnership in the middle and their innings was held together by Alicia Smith who got 67 before she was run out. Boggy and Lynsey [Askew] bowled well in the middle, picking up two wickets each, and they set us 158 to win.

There was a different batting order with Beth and I opening the batting. We got to 41 before Beth got trapped LBW for 11 followed shortly after by me for 26. Ebony and Boggy came in at three and four but we soon found ourselves 60 for four.

Tayls and Lottie steadied the ship and did not give them a chance, finishing with 37 and 58 respectively to win by six wickets.

Our next trip was up north to Sheffield and the rain returned again. We were due to train on August 17 but could not start on time so the whole team went and played badminton. Isa used to play county standard so was pretty good but it was Lottie and Holly who stole the show and won the gold medal!

Our last ODI at Chesterfield ended up being called off so we won the series 4-0 which set us up nicely going into the Twenty20 games.