Road to Glory – Part 2 & the start to WNCL (sorry for the delay, joys of coming back to a full-time job)

Unlike the Semi Final, my nerves were intact and I was actually quite calm about the Final of a T20 World Cup.

 

The night before, Pez and I went for the third time to the Gallery Café and I can highly recommend it if ever in Colombo! We both had a pleasant night despite the restaurant being jam packed with English commentators wishing us good luck through their teeth.

 

Even on the morning of the game, everyone seemed relaxed and just looking forward to the contest. Again another team meeting managed to remind us of what a massive occasion it was, but again at the end of the meeting Sunny, our IT man from India, put together a highlights clip and by the end we were all relaxed again and looking forward to what was a head of us.

 

I have neglected to tell you all about the multicultural support staff that we seem to have collected this trip, hence why when they panned to the group during the anthems they weren’t singing. We managed to pick a Pom as our physio, Scot as our Doctor, Kiwi as our Media Manager, plus there are suspicions that our Strength and Conditioner has some Middle Eastern background, only because he tans really well as we both fight to be the darkest by the end of the tour.

 

There was a quiet confidence amongst the group and when Meg and Midge started by hitting to all parts of the ground, that only strengthened our belief. It is unheard of with Katherine Brunt going for 20 off her two overs and even after we lost our openers, the momentum continued.

 

Jess Cameron and I came into the middle and I was lucky enough to witness the talent that she has to burn. She scored a match winning 45 and took 17 off one over, including the shot of the tournament where she scooped the ball over the keeper’s head for 4. Despite losing her the next over, Alex and I were able to get a run a ball until the end to post 4/142, 2 runs less than what we scored in the round match where we lost.

 

The difference between the round match and today was the fact it was a Final and runs on the board meant a hell of a lot. We started well in the field, then Charlotte Edwards struck a 6 and 4 to change the momentum. I was able to combine with Pez to pick her up and then it was Pez’s turn to take the vital wicket of Taylor 20 runs later. From there we were able to pick up consistent wickets and stem the flow of runs at the same time.

 

Like a Hollywood drama, there was to be a slight twist to the end of the story. A drop catch followed by some lusty hitting from Jenny Gunn saw the runs required and balls remaining edge closer and closer. The nervous energy that hadn’t reared its ugly head at all this match suddenly started to build.

 

There was uncertainty about the field and where we were going to bowl with certain players now executing shots that we didn’t think they were going to play. With 2 overs to go and England requiring 23 runs, Pez came in to try and put the game out of reach, only going for 7 runs.

 

The final over was given to the young prodigy, Erin Osborne, with16 runs to play with. I tried to make her smile, but there was no smile back. Instead she was focused – but maybe on the fear of failure!

 

Another dropped catch, misfield and a full toss no-ball brought the equation down rapidly and off the last ball, England needed 6 runs.

 

Oz managed to bowl a full toss on leg-side and as I watched Hazell connect with bat, I noticed that she didn’t have the elevation that she needed. The ball went out to Pez who threw it in to spark the celebrations. It was such an amazing feeling, something that I have only been lucky enough to experience two other times.

 

The Lap of Honour was amazing as the local crowd had streamed in to cheer on their team Sri Lanka, who were playing straight after us. They were happy to clap and give us a standing ovation. Once we were back in the change rooms we had to ice-bath and do proper recovery as we had to fly out that night.

 

Even though we won there wasn’t the amount of celebration that was had in 2010, as we only had a few hours back at the hotel to pack and check-out. The evening got worse as we were stuck in a VIP room at the airport, with all of us tired, hungry and in dismay that we had to fly out the night of our victory, yet the Poms had 2 more days in Colombo before they left!

 

Our return trip also seemed to be the longest route possible as we had to fly back via Dubai, Singapore, Melbourne and finally home to Sydney. It took 48 hours with a few of us only managing only 3-5 hours sleep.

 

We all said our good-byes at Melbourne airport where we actually had media and James Sutherland greeting us. Some of the girls had to back-up for their State teams 3 days later but thankfully Cricket NSW moved our first match to the following week, allowing for extra rest from the tournament.

 

It is always a great feeling when you come back to your State teams. This is the group that you spend the most time with. You get to see them week in, week out and challenge each other to get better.

 

 To be part of a winning Australian team in special, but to put on the Lend Lease Breakers’ uniform is just as special and when we all formed together for our first match against ACT last weekend it meant a lot to us.

 

It was a solid weekend with the usual suspects scoring runs, taking wickets and basically out playing our former teammates.

 

Most of the ACT girls have come through the NSW junior pathway so it is a typical grudge match.  With three comfortable wins, our attention now turns to Queensland tomorrow. With our coach Jo, spending a number of years coaching them, I am sure that those girls will want to prove a point to Jo and they have a number of very talented players.

 

Nothing is left in the change rooms when we play Queensland and I would assume this coming weekend will be exactly the same.

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