The winning feeling continues in NZ

Posted in England Women

Jenny Gunn Jonah Lomu

Jenny with NZ rugby legend Jonah Lomu

We all can’t believe how quickly the Australian leg of the tour has gone, and that we have little time left. On February 20 we flew over to New Zealand. As Beth, Lyd, Isa and myself were on different flights from England to Australia, this also meant we were on different flights to the rest of the team again.

The team flew straight to Christchurch whereas us four had to fly to Auckland first before heading to Christchurch. Whilst we were in Auckland airport we saw Jonah Lomu, and he was the nicest guy ever; I asked him for a photo and he was so polite and was like “no worries”!

On the 21st we had the morning off so a few of us had a walk into town and to be honest it feels quite like England, even the temperature is the same as a hot summer’s day back home.

The next day we had a warm-up game against New Zealand A and it was great to have Nunny (Katherine Brunt) back in the side after 15 months out through injury. We won the toss and chose to bat first. The wicket was slow and low so we had to work hard to score runs.

We were reduced to 11 for two and a change in the batting order to give Lottie a bit of a rest saw myself go in at number four. Tails batted brilliantly (Claire Taylor) and helped us get back on track. She brought up another 50 and we shared a partnership of 100, before Tails was dismissed for 60 and then three quick wickets fell for two runs including myself who was run out for 47.

Shaggy and Steph chipped in with 20s and got us to 184, which we thought was an above par score on that wicket.

Nunny was back opening the bowling and provided something extra to the team and as Lottie was rested from fielding; Tails was our captain for the day. Isa opened the bowling with Nunny and they picked up early wickets with some tight bowling and good fielding. We bowled them out for 86 with Isa getting three and myself and Charlie picking up two each.

Our five ODI’s are at Lincoln University and our first one was on Feb 24 and it didn’t quite go as planned. We were bowling first and Isa managed to get Mase (Aimee Mason) out with her first delivery and carried on to reduce them to 54 for four.

In the middle they had some good partnerships, which set them up to attack in the last couple of overs. They set us a total of 261. We didn’t get off to the best of starts as we lost both openers early before a partnership was just starting to form between Lottie and Tails. Beth McNeill came on and claimed the wicket of Tails and went on to get five more wickets in her spell for us to be bowled out for 138.

We were right back the next day for our second ODI and looking forward to getting our tour back on track. It was a slightly special game for me as it was my 50th game for England. We even had a special umpire today as we had Billy Bowden umpiring, which was always entertaining.

NZ won the toss and chose to bowl first. I felt sorry for Isa as she was bowling into a gale force wind but bowled brilliantly and again picked up the wicket of Mase for 0. Isa bowled 10 overs straight through getting two wickets for 22. Again NZ lost wickets early before their middle order rescued them and again had wickets in hand to attack us at the end. Sarah Tsukigawa batted well and top scored with 73. They finished with 242.

We had a new opening pair today with Shaggy (Caroline Atkins) coming in for Beth. We couldn’t have asked for a better start as they both played attacking cricket and brought up their 50 partnership in no time at all. Squirt (Sarah Taylor) was looking in fine form before she was out for 39. Enter Tails!

She came in and attacked from ball one and scored another 50 in no time at all. Shaggy passed 50 soon after and then passed her highest ODI score so far.

Claire Taylor

They shared a partnership of over 150 for us to win by nine wkts, Tails finishing on 111 and Shaggy 69. It was one of the best batting displays I’d ever seen and was the first time since 1982 that we had beaten NZ in NZ.

I was going down the lift in our hotel and an older couple asked me if I was to do with the cricket. I said yes and they went, oh good to see you smashed the English yesterday. I found it quite funny as I just said I am English and that we beat them by nine wickets today, so that sort of shut them up a bit.

The 28th saw our 3rd ODI and again we were again bowling first. We got off to another good start with Isa picking up two quick wickets and Nunny firing and also picking up two. There was a real buzz around the team and some quick work from Squirt managed to get the in-form Tsukigawa out for 37.

In my second spell I managed to pick up two quick wickets, which included Nic Browne caught and bowled. Lottie bowled well at the death and we bowled them out for 199, with Lottie, Nunny and myself picking up two wickets each.

We lost an early wicket but once again had a big partnership for the second wicket. Tails brought up another 50 and not long after Squirt reached her. We were going on well until Tails was bowled on 71 and then Lottie was out for nought and Lyd for four. We went into the last eight overs requiring around 28 to win. Squirt knocked off the winning runs finishing on 86 not out and myself on 12 not out to go 2-1 in the series.

The next day we had a day off and Lyd, Beth and I went for a walk into town and ended up hiring a boat and went paddling on the river. It was so funny even though I was so scared at first.

Jenny Gunn Beth Morgan

We only crashed once and got stuck as at one point the water was too shallow so it was quite an effort to try and get out of. The afternoon we were joined by Boggy and went to a fudge making factory, which was so random but was quite good to learn how to make fudge and get free samples.