SERIES FINISHES ON A HIGH
Having won both the trophies on offer this tour, the group decided to celebrate with a team dinner. Instead of heading out to eat, we decided to make use of our apartment style accommodation and with a few budding chefs obliging to cook for the hungry touring party of 20, the feast was on!
Thanks to Ellyse, Julie, Richard and I, there was a definite Indian and seafood feel to the meal… anyone want to guess what I cooked J. A feast isn’t complete without dessert and after chowing down on an array of pavlova, ice-cream, fruit salad and ice magic (not sure about the last one) we were all well and truly stuffed! Just to make sure that we were walking like Oompa-Loompas a few of the more…mature members of the team, decided to round off the meal with a selection of fine cheese and a glass of port.
A theme for this tour has been playing cards, especially whilst waiting to play. The overwhelming hit of the tour has been Chinese Spit, a game that requires quick reflexes and the ability to accept that the cards may end up worse for wear (sorry Shaz as they were her cards). The game became even more interesting as the number of players increased. Some players even risked putting their tour in jeopardy by knocking their elbows on the marble table in pursuit of a win. By far one of the more amusing moments was Jessica Cameron giving up because she found it too hard – sore loser.
Our final 2 matches were played as curtain raisers to the men with both games televised on Channel 9. Having already won the series, the selectors felt these games were a good opportunity to give other players some valuable game time in preparation for the T20 World Cup in September. Sydney continued to dish up its lovely weather and on the morning of the game, I wasn’t too sure we were going to get on. Thankfully the massive band of clouds missed Sydney Olympic Park (wth the exception of a brief shower literally as we were taking the field) and we were able to get in an 18 over match, as this was also Sharon’s debut for Australia in T20.
We won the toss and elected to bat. Unfortunately our revamped batting lineup didn’t make the most of it as we slumped to 5/30. From there Jodie (37*) and I (23) forged a solid partnership, but we still found it a challenge to find the boundary. In the end we posted a final score of 92. We knew that it was going to require a superb bowling and fielding effort to come away with the win, but we were confident we could pull it off.
Even though we were able to restrict their boundaries, 92 runs was always going to be hard to defend and when you add to the mix 3 dropped catches in the field it doesn’t assist your chance of victory. After a confident start to the series, we lost our first match, which was frustrating, but there were still plenty of positives that we could take away from the game.
After leaving a wet and gloomy Sydney we arrived in Melbourne to glorious conditions. An optional training session took place on the afternoon of our arrival. Now I am not one that normally joins in on the optional sessions, but the opportunity to be out in the sun after a week of rain was just too enticing.
With our last match of the tour to be played at the MCG and with a number of players coming back in the side after some time on the bench everyone was fired up for the occasion. The most exciting part for me was that it was our last warm-up of the tour, yippee.
Again Jodie found herself on the right side of the coin toss and we elected to bat. On a massive MCG field that was slower than we are accustomed to, we steadily lost wickets. Thankfully Alyssa Healy (30) at the top of the order and Ellyse Perry (24*) at the lower end of the order provided a score for us bowlers to defend – 129 runs.
Unlike Sydney we took our chances, apart from one that I must mention. It is funny now, but at the time I am sure Sarah Coyte wasn’t laughing. As the ball went high in the air, it was Sarah’s as soon as it left the bat. She steady herself under the ball and at the last minute pulled out because of the sun. The great thing is that it went live around the country, as Channel 9 broadcasted the game. I think sunnies are being purchased by the bowler for her.
Luckily that dropped chance didn’t hurt us as we picked up regular wickets which halted the Kiwi’s run chase and put us in the box seat. The chief destroyers were Julie Hunter who picked up 2 wickets and Erin Osborne who contributed with 2/19 off 4 overs. Our efforts for the day saw us come away with our 5th victory of the tour.
It was a great way to finish the series and to cap off a successful summer of cricket for the CBA Southern Stars. As in Sydney, once the MCG game was completed, we were invited to Cricket Australia box to watch the men take on India. There were moments in the match that I had to remind myself that we were in Australia as the game had such a feeling of being in India, with their vocal supporters and music filling the stadium.
It was a great chance to allow the girls to get accustomed to what we are going to face when we head to India in March. Although our summer of cricket has finished here, the Southern Stars will head to India from the 6th – 26th March to play 5 x T20’s and 3 x ODI’s. Until then, it is home and back to the reality of working and trying to fit in all the demands of training required to represent your country.
Stay tuned as the CBA Southern Stars head to India! There should be some cracking stories to come out of that tour.