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Managing expectations

Posted in England Women

On Sunday night the rain started and so we all donned our issue adidas England raincoats on the way to dinner. No one even considered rain in their packing so it was the only option.

We had a phone call during dinner to say that the ground was already too wet at the Waverley Oval to train on the next day and so practise was rapidly switched to indoor nets at the SCG. Good job too as the next day we woke to grey skies and temperatures below 20°C - not what we’ve become used to at all!

We only managed a two-hour session that day as all eight teams had an allotted slot in the nets. I had been liaising with a company over here called Ace Props who had produced a branded metre-wide hard plastic cricket ball for Sky Sports News to use in a quick photo shoot so we could promote the upcoming TV games on Sky back home. Given the wet grass we had to keep picking up the ball and placing it in the position we wanted it in. No mean feat when it weighed almost as much as me!

After training we wheeled out the ball and had a mini shoot with all the players. Lottie had to pose with the prop as did Squirt (Sarah Taylor) balancing it on her knees for the shot. We then had a team shot with all the players as well as one with our two coaches.

On Tuesday we headed to North Sydney Oval for our first TV game of the tournament. We were playing India in the crunch game of our group. England put in a fantastic performance in the field having won the toss and electing to field first. It was great to see them play to that standard in front of the cameras which were broadcasting the game across ten different countries. We won comfortably by nine wickets.

Following the post-match presentation and post-match interviews we ushered the girls into their obligatory ice baths. There is a nasty rumour circulating that on the last day all the management will be dunked into the ice bath as punishment for enforcing them throughout the tour. I think I might be well away from the dressing room that day.

Another gym session was followed by a trip to the airport to drop off our manager Megs who was heading home to Melbourne for a few days. Guess who got to take over the reigns of that job?!

Wednesday was my first day as manager and the churning in my stomach told me it wasn’t going to be easy! Having got all the players and management onto the bus for training I then had to sort out sweets, net bowlers, groundsmen and eskies (Cool boxes!) for the drinks.

Mid-way through training Tails thought she heard the cry of a kookaburra. So she, Crumpy and I legged it up the bank beyond the white picket fence around the ground and through a cluster of trees to an opening where the bird allegedly was. I’m disappointed to say we didn’t see the kookaburra but came across some other interesting species.

That afternoon the girls had massages and I sat down to answer more emails and respond to interview requests from ABC Radio, local radio at home and national journos, which is excellent.

We had a team meal that night at a local Italian. A couple of the waiters had seen our game on TV the day before and were keen to chat to us about it and ask questions. We happily obliged and bigged ourselves up in the vein hope that it may result in some free garlic bread. Unfortunately not!

On Thursday we headed back to the North Sydney Oval for our final group game against Pakistan, again in front of the cameras. Our ecb.co.uk and ECBtv guru Russ arrived that morning and after explaining to reception that I did know him he was allowed into my room to freshen up before heading to the ground to write his first match report.

We had an early finish that day after beating Pakistan by eight wickets. My role as manager continued and I had to organise an early pick-up for the team and the match report from Lottie which had to go to the Match Referee. As well as this we had four TV crews in the ground as well as radio reporters and print journos so it was a busy end to the day for me!

Another gym session was followed by more interviews and blog updates before we took Russ out for his first meal in Australia. We headed down to Nick’s again (same chain, different venue) for some fresh fish. I shared another fresh seafood platter and they do just get better and better. On our return to the hotel the males amongst us headed to the Piano bar for “a few” while the rest of us retired to our rooms to catch up on more emails and speak to our colleagues back in England to keep on top of things. “A few” turned into many and a few sunglasses were sported the next morning!

On Friday we switched our training session to a different venue – the Alan Davidson Oval where we had played our first game against NSW Breakers. That was another of my duties as manager to switch the venue and organise the buses. After a good training session where even Russ turned his arm over we did a couple of interviews with ECBtv and the BBC.

That afternoon after a couple of blogs with Tails we headed out to the shops for a bit of a break from the laptop. On our travels we came across a cup cake shop so indulged in their special offer of 6 cupcakes for $12. We selected six different flavours – lemon meringue, cherry, chocolate brownie, strawberry sundae, vanilla and just plain chocolate – and then treated ourselves to one each on return to the hotel. I opted for the cherry one (yes Mum it was good!) and the rest are now in my fridge waiting for my return! I hope they keep well and that housekeeping at the hotel don’t find them.

Lottie and I sat down to write her latest blog before a team meeting at 5.30pm – another of my responsibilities to organise. I had been assured that our meeting room would be free, but at 5.20pm I found out that the Aussies were in there. Cue mad panic to find another room free which involved the catering manager, hotel duty manager and a bar girl! We managed to find somewhere suitable and the mini crisis was averted!

After the meeting we headed out for another team meal at an Italian down at Darling Harbour. Italians are great before a match as they’re full of carbohydrates which will give the players energy. I opted for the seafood risotto, a popular choice as the three down my end of the table all went for it. Laney, who was at the head, was less pleased as he hates fish and ours were all topped with Moreton Bay bugs complete with eyes!

In the middle of dinner Laura was interviewed by Sky Sports News in a preview for Saturday’s game and a look-back at her career best performance of 5-15 in the match against Pakistan. As the others headed to Max Brenners for a post-dinner hot chocolate I headed back to my room to file another seven blogs and answer more emails.

This morning I happily handed the manager baton back to Megs at breakfast as she arrived back late last night. Clare Connor also arrived looking extremely sprightly after her 24 hour flight.

On Saturday we played New Zealand at Bankstown which is where Ish (Isa Guha) has been playing all winter. We won that match by 31 runs which has put us in an excellent position heading into the final stages. If we beat the West Indies on Tuesday we’re in the 2009 World Cup Final.

We had a day off on Sunday, so I took the opportunity to visit the fish markets for brunch and then had a look around the rocks – lots of market stalls selliing wares near Circular Quay. We had interviews to do in the morning with ABC radio and then again in the evening with BBC radio.

We’re back training again on Monday ahead of our second game in the Super six stage against West Indies, this time at Drummoyne.

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