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Hard work pays off for Academy

Posted in England Women

After three hard days of training it was time to put all our practice into our first match which we played on Saturday.

We were told to expect an under-16 state standard side of boys with three girls integrated into the team; including a 13-year-old leg-spinner who no doubt will be involved in the Indian women's side for the World Cup in 2013 as she is a very talented player.

After losing the toss we were put in to bat and things weren't going too swimmingly when early wickets started to fall due to a lot of movement on a slightly damp pitch. The changing room quietened down a lot when the scoreboard said we were 44 for five.

However, on her return to wearing the England badge, skipper Arran Brindle dug her heels in and played a brilliant innings. The middle and lower order batted around her and things began to look a bit more positive as we passed the 200-mark.

I was batting 11 with Arran and we had a steady partnership of over 40 when I thought it would be a clever idea to come dancing down the track. The 13-year-old I mentioned earlier turned one past me and had me stumped, leaving Arran stranded at the other end on 98 not out. I'm sorry Arran, I really am!

England Academy were all out for 262 which Arran claimed was 'all that mattered' and 'anything over 250 was her target for the team'.

After another curry for lunch we took to the field with a lot of confidence under our belts. Early wickets didn't fall and it was clear that in the 38 degree heat, patience was beginning to wear thin. However, in the 17th over, Raveena (Lakhtaria) managed to find the first wicket for us and two more fell quickly after that.

A special mention goes to Fran (Wilson) who shone so much in the field that Jack (Birkenshaw) awarded her a special fielding prize, much to the envy of everyone else.

We managed to chip away at the rest of their side and bowled them out for 120-odd in the 42nd over. Raveena led the way picking up four wickets and all the other bowlers chipped in.

To celebrate a successful day for all, chips were requested at dinner. Good work Arran, it doesn't take much to keep us happy!

England Women's Academy

Our final training session in Pune took place on Sunday morning and there have been some obvious improvements from day one

Our final training session took place on Sunday morning and there have been some obvious improvements from day one. Balls were flying out of the nets in all directions which I can safely say were turning past most of the girls in our first net. I don't think the Global Cricket School bowlers were too happy!

Sunday afternoon was probably the most memorable hour the girls will have from this whole training camp. We were given the amazing opportunity of spending some time with a group of young orphaned children. When we first got there, we were welcomed with smiles and excitement from the children.

The afternoon was a real eye-opener, despite the obvious language barrier the children were absolutely amazing. For some of them it was the first time they had ever been on a playing field and their excitement to play cricket was fantastic.

Before we left we handed out some of our extra kit to the children and their appreciation was clear, language barrier or not. It was hard to believe that some of the kids we had just been with would potentially be sleeping on the street that night and things were really put into perspective for us.

Monday saw our second and final 50-over game of the tour and our opposition consisted of Poona men's U19 side.

Arran won the toss and we put them in with the intention of skittling them for a low total and then knocking off the runs for not many. We put our plans into place and did just that.

Early wickets fell and run-rates were low. We bowled them out for 142 with myself and Alice (MacLeod) both getting four wickets apiece. Effort and energy levels in the field were brilliant considering the heat of the early morning.

Spirits were high in the dressing room at lunch time (whilst eating more curry) and the second innings saw another great knock for Arran (40-odd not out) which was supported very well by Alice and Sarah (Taylor).

A lot of banter was flying around with the opposition saying it was 'Ladies Day' and we needed to wait until Wednesday and the Twenty20 match for it to be 'Men's Day'. All they have done is given us that little bit extra motivation to beat them! Bring it on!

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