Another 4 weeks have passed and they've been pretty hectic! A lot of cricket apart from one weekend where we had a complete wash out, called off on Friday morning for a Sunday afternoon game! Bit premature seeing as it only rained half the amount the forecast said but on the plus side there was no waiting around for hours on end playing cards watching the rain fall.
Our T20 campaign in the Premier 1s competition got underway against EMP, who boasted a few WBBL players in their ranks. We chose to bat first and after being 29-3 after 7 overs, standing at the other end knew I had to dig in big time! We managed to rack up a 54 run 4th wicket partnership ticking over the runs and making the most of some loose bowling! I got out on 44 to a ripping caught and bowled, still wondering how she managed to get a hand to it! The team worked hard to get us another 30 runs off the final 4 overs and we got to 111, which was a great effort after the position we were in. EMP got off to a flyer and were going at around 10-12 an over for 6 overs and it looked like it would be over very quickly! However, our middle over bowlers bowled great areas and dried up the runs. Drop catches were our downfall and we could have found ourselves in a much better position had we held onto them. I also found myself running long on to long on for 10 overs, for those who aren't aware, back in the UK I'd be classed as a ring fielder only so finding myself running the long miles on the boundary was a different experience for me! EMP chased down the target with 4 overs left and 9 wickets in hand, a game that could have ended much differently had we held those catches!
On the Thursday night Selection Dinner I received my "Baggy Blue" with my player number embrodied on the back and club medallion. The baggy blue cap isn't something my bun is ever going to agree to wearing but it's a great memento to be presented with along with the medallion and I can keep for many years to come.
The following weekend was the wash out, so we had a break in cricket. However it was the week I was travelling down to Adelaide for the first Day Night Men's Ashes test (because yes the women played the first day night ashes test!). Amara Carr from Devon (who is over playing for Melbourne CC) had a spare ticket and asked if I wanted to come along, an offer I couldn't refuse! We drove down with another girl from Melbourne CC the day before taking just the 9hrs! We were there for days 3-5 and for those who watched the test will know we were lucky enough to see our fair share of wickets fall and some good cricket! Whilst we were there I met up with Ellie Hopkins who also played cricket for Wales a few years back and being a true welsh girl was supporting "anyone but England" fully kitted out in Aussie colours and her Welsh Flag! The Adelaide Oval had recently been updated and the stadium had some amazing views! On Day 4 when England had the comeback on, the Barmy Army were in full song and the atmosphere for that final night session was electric! Would have been great if England could have followed it up on Day 5... The day night test meant we could do a bit of sightseeing in the mornings too which was great seeing as I couldn't see myself driving back the 9hrs to do it again.
After returning back from Adelaide, I had a day off to recover before I was back playing for Launching Place Men's on the Saturday with the one day games coming back. This time we were playing Wandin and again I was opening up the bowling. I bowled my 10 straight through, something I haven't done in a VERY long time and I ended up with figures of 10-4-19-0, probably the most economical I have bowled in a while! We were looking in a strong position but they had a middle order batter who went big throwing the kitchen sink at everything, helping them get 90 runs in the last 10 overs! We batted out our overs but ended around 40 runs short of the target, much better than most games have ended.
On the Sunday we travelled to Prahran for our next round of T20s and I was told last year they'd bowled our team out for 36 the year before, something I wasn't going to let happen again! We lost the toss and bowled first and again, I was opening up the bowling. We got off to a flyer, I cleaned up the opener with my 3rd ball and got another in my 2nd over. Bowling in partnership with Tess at the other end we managed to really put the pressure on and Prahran were 11/3 after 6 overs. The rest of the girls kept the pressure on as well, with 3 run outs in the innings and tight bowling throughout. We bowled Prahan out on the final ball for 71 and after recent experiences we knew not to get complacent chasing as the job was only half done. Myself and Maddie opened up as usual and got off to a flyer, when the opening bowler, who was probably the quickest female bowler I've come across since I've been here, gave us a handy amount of extras to start us off! The pace on a rock hard deck also meant she could bang in a bouncer or two! Maddie felt that pace after coping a yorker flush on the back foot (how she wasn't out LBW is still a mystery) and as thoughtful as I am just told her to shake it off. We lost a few wickets in the chase but got across the line only 2 wickets down and with only 12 overs gone! I was unbeaten on 30* and finished with figures of 4-0-18-2. It was Ringwood's first Premier 1s win EVER so an emotional day for the coaches and players who've worked so hard for the last few years to get to this point.
After telling Maddie to "shake off" the yorker to the foot, after a few scans and x-rays turns out she'd actually fractured it! A valuable lesson learnt to her to always use the bat. All jokes aside, it meant for us that our captain and keeper was out for the next 4-6 weeks which was far from ideal. When they found out that I'd kept previously and at the Indoor World Cup 3 years ago, the gloves were immediately thrown to me and I had to have a few quick practice sessions to dust off the cobwebs as it has been a good few years since I'd kept. Scott our coach and Maddie also decided to give me the captaincy in her absence which was a surprise but great compliment considering I've only been at the club less than 3 months. I was more than happy to take on the challenge and was raring to go (with the captaincy, the keeping not so much, my quads were not looking forward to the next day!)
The game I was in charge for was vs Coburg who we'd also come up against in our one day comp. I lost the toss and we were asked to field first. After a bit of a shaky start from us, Coburg were 22 off 4 overs. But our bowlers fought back for the rest of the game and bowled unbelievably well. Only 4 extras from our bowlers reflects how well the girls bowled (and no byes from some quality glove work and even managed to bag myself a catch behind the stumps!) and we restricted Coburg to only 66/8 off 20 overs. Like the previous game we got off to a great start and kept our run rate ticking over quickly. We lost 2 wickets again in the chase but got the total in 9.4 overs. I ended up on 46* off 27 balls adding another red inker to the average. The win also meant we found ourselves in a great position at the end of the year, currently 3rd in the table with 3 games to go after Christmas and a top 2 finish will find us in the T20 grand final. If we can carry on our current form I have no doubt we can reach the final! We now have a lengthy break over Christmas with our next game on the 14th Jan.
Till then, I'll be fully immersing myself in an Aussie Christmas and New Years, although the lack of Christmas music and it being 30+ degrees most days is making it seem much more like Mid-July and not Christmas in less than a week! I mean, is a bit of Mariah Carey belting out All I Want for Christmas a few times a day too much to ask?!
For those who have been eagerly anticipating the poem, here it is:-
The story starts in Wales
Home of Dragons Heart Ale,
when I got on the plane,
Thought I'd said goodbye to the rain
clearly I was going insane,
but then I rocked up at Ringwood,
I was like, yeah this is gonna be good.
First I met our skipper called Maddie,
then I was told, if you bowl wide,
she'll be throwing a paddy.
Batting at 3 we have Tess,
Who has a lovely bit of finesse,
Then next in we have Kylie,
But she can't twerk it like Miley.
I was told watch out for Chongy,
cos she'll bowl you a wrongy.
Nethuli Perrera, if you listen very carefully,
you might just be able to hear her.
Lastly, we have Kelly Tarr,
and I tell you what,
she hits it bloody far
Now I'm sorry if you haven't made this the rhyme,
but it was going on for a very long time.
If anyone said to me "so you play for Ringwood"
I'd say yeah, and we are pretty effing good.
Yep, no half measures here!