In The Grubber this week, Ed Kemp watches England’s series win over India on an enjoyable day at Wormsley.
It wasn’t what England had planned. Going into the fifth and final ODI at Sir Paul Getty’s beautiful ground at Wormsley with the series on the edge at 2-2 was not what England’s players and followers had intended or predicted at the start of the summer, but in another game that looked tight for long periods, England triumphed to claim what was a remarkable series victory having at one stage been 2-0 down to India.
All round it was a day that suggested women’s cricket is in decent health. The side are still undefeated at what is proving to be a picturesque fortress at Wormsley. They were joined by a crowd who were able to enjoy the kind of cricket-watching experience that involves a deck chair and a picnic rather than a stadium seat and an expensive hot dog; mainly they came from local cricket clubs but there was also an opportunity for groups of schoolchildren to get in free with an adult.
At the interval, young players from Cricket Foundation’s Streetchance scheme played a game on the outfield: it was their first proper cricket game of any description having previously only played the tape ball version that introduces urban youngsters to the game. It proved a successful induction, as England eventually won by 29 runs on Duckworth Lewis, following a telling batting partnership between Arran Brindle and Lydia Greenway to steer the team towards victory in the match and the series.
England have whitewashed so many opponents in recent times that it was bound to come as a shock that they found themselves in deficit to the touring Indian side. But their response will be extremely heartening to skipper Charlotte Edwards as they look ahead to a massive year that includes both Twenty20 and 50-over World Cups, and the Ashes.
That followed excellent early bowling spells by the aggressive Katherine Brunt and 21-year-old Georgia Elwiss, who only made her debut in October but picked up the Player of the Match and Series awards at Wormsley on Wednesday after another miserly opening spell saw her take 3-9 from her first eight overs. Though India recovered to 153, and a good start with the ball saw off Edwards, Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor, Greenway, Brindle and finally Heather Knight kept their cool to leave England well ahead on D/L when the rain finally set in for the day in the 37th over of England’s innings.
As the presentations were completed and celebrations got underway, Edwards tweeted that the players were off for a night out in Oxford to continue the festivities. Few would say it wasn’t deserved.
Keep your eye on AOC for more coverage of the women’s game. In September we’ll be offering a separate women’s cricket special supplement, bringing you closer to the players than ever as they take on all-comers at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, before the World Cup and the Ashes, in what promises to be a huge 2013 for the England team and the game as a whole.
Click here to read AOC’s women’s cricket correspondent Isa Guha’s account of England’s rise to the top