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2017 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page  (From Skirts to Pink Balls - part 2)

From Skirts to Pink Balls (part 3)

Later in 2005 I witnessed a final ball victory for England that will always stick in my memory. World Cup wins are great and I have watched the final of two where England were triumphant, but this day was something else. Now this match sticks most firmly in my mind - but not entirely for the proceedings on the field but the feeling of complete satisfaction as I drove home afterwards. If there was a cricketing perfect day this was it! There were close calls when I once contemplated what day I might chose if ever asked and I mention some of them later, but driving home later that evening I couldn't think of anything to make this day more complete.

The Attractive Ground at Swans Nest, Stratford-upon-Avon on that day

I had, some 12 years before, witnessed a victory over Australia at Guildford during the 1993 World Cup. It was actually the first game of women's cricket I had ever watched. Maybe the victory was part of what drew me to the sport. What I wasn't aware, of course, was that for the subsequent period until 2005 England would not manage that again - to win a single ODI against Australia at all. However, at Stratford-upon-Avon (scorecard) the sequence was finally broken! The crowd grew appreciably during the day at that attractive ground. I recall teasing one parent who was looking after his youngsters in the adjacent children's playground. The hedge was particularly thick and he could only catch the odd glimpse of the players warming up. He asked me who the teams were. "England and Australia" I said. There was a pause while he took this in. "Impossible" he said "they'd never play here!" So I relented and told him it was a women's international. Somewhat later in the day I noticed him, his wife and their two children sat on the boundary watching.
Vendors set up stalls and I enjoyed one of the best hog roasts I have ever tried. Those who know me will realise that could only be followed by ice-cream. After a nail biting day, Australia needed 3 runs from the last ball - it was anyone's game. The ball skied off the bat and Isa Guha rushed in to catch it, pausing and allowing it to strike her. Very quick thinking on Isa's part meant a catch was not required - simply to prevent the batsmen running 3 runs. The celebrations were, understandably, quite remarkable. I have studied the image below very carefully and believe only one of the England players is out of shot. Even the crowd, many of whom were not familiar with either the women's game or the history and significance of this particular event seemed to sense this was an 'occasion'. Fortunately England's fortunes have been much better more recently as we shall see.

The Celebrations Begin

Claire Taylor Takes the Player of the Match Award for her Innings of 82

A Photo after the Match of a Group who dubbed themselves "The Survivors" who had been
at the Match 12 years before when England had last beaten Australia

The day was complete when the skipper invited me to the team and supporters' BBQ!! I drove home having eaten far too much following a most splendid day out.
To top it off, 2005 was quite a year with Sussex winning the County Championship!
Rather more than a decade ago I had become involved with the Sussex team, having tripped to 'Cambridge', and have been following their fortunes ever since. I joined the committee more than 10 years ago and became Chairman only a couple of years later when Ruth Prideaux wanted to retire from the job and suggested me. To be asked to follow in such footsteps was a huge compliment.

Ruth Prideaux
Sadly we lost Ruth in 2016.
There have been many moments to savour with my home county. Not only have we won the County Championship on many occasions but at one time we could boast five players in the England Squad. Wins in the County T20 followed and it was an unusual year when we failed to come lower than runner-up in one championship or another. Moments that stick in my mind include collecting the County Championship trophy one year (2008) in front of a large enthusiastic crowd at the County Ground at Hove under the floodlights in the interval of a men's match. The atmosphere was amazing. Sky, of course, considered the highlights of the first innings of that match more important and 'we' never got a mention on the TV coverage that evening. It would have taken little effort to record a couple of minutes and slot it in somewhere when the men's game resumed.

[Sussex Team]  Don Miles

I hope you don't need me to say why I'm not in the picture!

[Rosalie Birch+Sharky]  Don Miles

Rosalie Birch gives Sharky a champagne wash
And talking of county championship wins, I'll not forget the trip to Buckingham Palace on one of those occasions for the girls to collect their reward. It wasn't so much the Palace visit itself, although that was memorable, but the follow up which amused. First we enjoyed a superb buffet put on by the Lords' Taverners and then climbed on the coach to go home. On the way the players decided they needed a meal - how on earth they found room after the Taverners spread I'll never know - and we found ourselves in a McDonald's (or similar establishment - I can't recall) the girls in their finery and the three of us guys in our suits. I am one of those people who never feels out of place if everyone else has suit and tie and I'm in an open neck shirt and trainers, always feeling it's the person in the clothes that matters. This time my normal situation was reversed and it really was a bit weird.
The year after the above pictures were taken at the Hove County ground I decided on another trip following the England team. 2009 saw the World Cup being played in grounds around Sydney and I grabbed the chance to visit a country new to me and to get some winter sunshine. Once again I travelled with the Taylors, only this time it was Sarah's parents and brother who joined the party with Louise Colvin and Marion Collin - quite a decent size contingent, which meant quite some research to find a flat with enough bedrooms. One very close to Darling Harbour did the job perfectly - it was a splendid setting.
Drummoyne provided one of the more attractive backgrounds in the out grounds. Here England took on the West Indies. The facilities left rather a lot to be desired but the view is nearly perfect. Unknown to me it was St Patrick's Day. A short walk to the local pub revealed a tight throng and some girls' heads bobbing up and down at the back of the room. Irish dancing is really not a great spectator experience with dozens of watchers standing in front of you.

Drummoyne Cricket Ground  Don Miles

Drummoyne Cricket Ground, Sydney

At the end of the Super 6 stage New Zealand led the field, just ahead of England on NRR (yes, the dreaded NRR) with India 3rd and Australia 4th (again an NRR situation). There being no semi-finals, just a final, Australia lost out and the White Ferns and England turned up at that most attractive ground, North Sydney Oval, to fight for the silverware.
There are a few pictures from the final here and the celebrations that followed.

[England Team in 2009 celebrate winning the World Cup]  Don Miles

England Celebrate their World Cup Win at North Sydney Oval in 2009

Half an hour in the bar afterwards with Clare Taylor, her with the Yorkshire sense of humour, and other friends, and my chest was aching from laughing. It was a great post match celebration.

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Next Page will be "From Skirts to Pink Balls" part 4