It’s just over a year since I wrote my first Dellers diary from Perth and I thought it would be fitting to write an end of year review whilst here in Sydney.
We were still on a high in January and February after winning the World Cup T20 qualifiers in Thailand in November. We worked hard on our strength and skills and were under no illusion about the challenge we would face in India. Early March we departed for India and after a week of warm up games and adapting to the conditions it was time to start what we went there to do. Every tournament has highs and lows, standout performances and ones you want to leave behind. The World Cup tested us as a squad but apart from anything else I left that tournament knowing that as a team we were not there to make up the numbers, there was a genuine belief that we could compete with the best sides and win games.
In April just as I was preparing for my final college exams I got the call that any player would dream of receiving from their coach. I was asked to captain the women’s side. Without any hesitation I quickly agreed and couldn’t wait for the season to start. After captaining the Irish underage sides it was something that was always on my list but never thought would happen at the age of 23. Shortly after Cricket Ireland announced seven home fixtures against South Africa in August and seven home games against Bangladesh in September.
It was back to club cricket in May along with our super three competition with many games being played in different grounds in Dublin and up North. No doubt in a group of competitive players there is always great rivalry and banter between the three teams with everyone wishing they were a part of the dragon wagon. We knew our main focus at this stage was preparing for our home series in August and September.
June and July flew by with the girls training a few times a week and playing club and representative cricket. Finally August arrived and I’m not going to lie I was pretty nervous heading out on to the pitch to captain my first game. As a captain you’re keen to make your mark and lead by example and having spent the last couple of months on the sideline with a knee injury I was slightly apprehensive of how it would go. We had a few tough games but we definitely came out of the series on a high winning a T20 and the final ODI game, something no Irish cricket team had achieved prior to that. There were individual standout performances throughout the series by all players which was brilliant to see. Una Raymond Hoey made her debut against South Africa and Meg Kendal was also presented with her first Cap against Bangladesh in September. Due to poor weather we only played two games against Bangladesh with each side winning one game resulting in a tie. After a busy couple of months it was time for the squad to have a few weeks off.
In September Louise McCarthy began her two year masters in Edinburgh and Amy Kenealy returned to college this time focusing on working in the healthcare area. Izzy left Ireland for the Winter and headed to Hobart whilst Jenny flew to New Zealand. Myself, Shauna and Mary were busy making our own plans to head to the Southern Hemisphere in October.
After three years of planning Shauna and I finally landed in Sydney. Initially we were slightly unsure of how things would pan out and were taken aback by how expensive everything here is. The family we are staying with have been incredibly welcoming and supportive, in their words we are their “adopted Irish daughters”. We thought after the first few weeks we would find our bearings yet three months on we still can’t leave the house without our phones fully charged as google maps is a must. October and November flew and it has been great to see the standard of cricket out here. Shauna has definitely secured her spot in the Gordon side with some very solid and important contributions. I’m really in no position to complain, each morning I walk down to the pool in the back garden and do my pool session in the sun. As much as I love being the number one supporter having only batted in two games I’m itching to get out there. Sri Lanka is only a few weeks away and with a couple of set backs my main focus is to continue working on my rehab in an effort to be available for selection.
Christmas will be very different out here. The weather is really starting to heat up with most days being above 36 degrees for the next couple of weeks. Isobel flies back to Sydney on the 23rd of December and we will also be joined by Rebecca Rolfe and Pete Johnston who are over to visit family members. Mary Waldron is also Sydney bound at the end of December so it will be brilliant to catch up with everyone.
Even in a big city you always know someone. Fi Urquhart a Scottish international who we have played against many times also plays for Gordon. We train a couple of times a month with Steve Jenkins who Aaron our head coach worked with in Perth. Jenny Gray is playing on the same team as Kari Carswell in New Zealand who is also a Scottish International along with former Irish international Caitriona Beggs. Izzy has been playing alongside Sasha Maloney and Brooke Hepburn who both played in Ireland a couple of seasons ago.
We are a close knit squad and keep in touch with the girls back home on a regular basis. Ciara Metcalfe was named player of the year in November which was richly deserved. Gaby Lewis (Hobart Hurricanes) and Kim Garth (Sydney Sixers) are the two Irish players that have been selected for the Big Bash rookie program in January. We are very aware of how hard the squad back home are working. We won’t be there for the annual 12 Christmas carols which has now become a ritual after fitness testing but it won’t be long before we’re all reunited as a squad. After such a successful year our aim is to keep up this momentum and carry it into what will be our most important tournament yet. As I’ve said before this is a really exciting time in Irish women’s cricket. As a group only we know our potential and we can’t wait to get going in February! It’s time for us to get our skin folds done so I’m going to leave it there but here’s hoping to a very successful 2017!
That’s all for now,