Women’s Ashes

DSC02885Sports of any form probably symbolize energy, vitality, competition and fun. In today’s world of fast track city life, sports is the only way to get back to the healthy routine, reinforce vitality and feel good about oneself.

Lords gives Goosebumps to those who are ardent cricket fans. It’s the Mecca of cricket and this epicentre stands there for last 200 years, witnessing few of the world’s greatest cricketers. Being in London, how could we miss a chance to visit this Shrine of cricket?

Although I am not a huge fan of cricket, I do keep following up on it, as most of my friends do love cricket. My take on this is, with the current lifestyle, it becomes important to get involved into some sport for self, rather than sitting in front of TV watching long matches.

DSC02934Getting a ticket for Men’s Ashes or even county matches is at times, next to impossible and even if you happen to get one, the prices are quite out of your reach. But we anyways wanted that Lord’s experience. A Women’s Ashes match scheduled for 20th of Aug gave us that opportunity. The booking was online and we soon had our glossy Lord’s passes in our hands.

St. John Wood station on Jubilee line seemed to be most convenient for us from Stratford. Being a weekday, the rest of the people were rushing to their offices, while we set out for our first ever live cricket match and that too on Lord’s, Wow what a feeling. St’ John Woods station which is a zone two station seemed much polished, quite similar to Central London, except that it was much peaceful and calm, without the rush and crowd of the Central London.

DSC02891Amongst the English and few of the Australians, I guess we were very few of the Indian’s who were there for this match. The Grant stand and two of the close by stands Warner stand and Compton stand were the only stands opened up for spectators as the crowd for women’s match was limited and the assumption was it would also lack the excitement of the men’s match. But then how does that matter!! We were there to enjoy the atmosphere of the Lords.

Australia opted to bat first and Lanning and Haynes opened up for Australia. Brunt gave a quick shock by getting her first wicket in the first over, as the match started, with Haynes walking back to the pavilion with a duck. This was a fantastic start for England and then looking at their bowling lineup and great fielding, they always looked to be in control taking few quick wickets and going for few great catches as well.

Lanning on the other hand kept the Australian flag flying by just being there on the field and adding to the score slowly but consistently. This absolutely became a key point at later stage. Australian managed a decent score of 203 at the end of 50 overs and we were off for lunch.

DSC03004The fetacheese pie with chick peas was wonderful and quite filling. Sitting at the grand stand, sipping English beer just like the Englishman, was a great experience. A stroll around the stadium gave a nice feeling of being at a very prominent place in cricket history.

We were not quite aware that spectators are allowed to get down the ground to feel the action and enjoy the sun. This really came as a huge surprise to us.The chance to get down to the ground and feel that charm was amazing and we were looking for the footsteps of Sir Don Bradman, Gary Sobers, Allan Border , Graham Gooch, David Gower, Sunil Gawaskar and Sachin on the lawn.

Although the stadium was not over crowded, which might be the case for men’s ashes match,there was decent number of people and it was interesting to hear some of their slogan, songs and ways of motivating their team. Some of the slogan like “Coyte cowardly, Coyte Cowardly” etc, were also intended to instigate the Australians a bit.

20130820_141639The chaos, the huge crowd and “halla gulla” (shouting) was missing and that gave a peaceful atmosphere to enjoy the game. People enjoyed sipping their large beer glasses as much as they enjoyed the pies. Few of them even got their meal and dishes from home and enjoyed a proper lunch.

The pavilion end of the stadium looked really magnificent with the typical wood work and gave the testimony of how old this sport is. The media centre on the opposite end shined in the sun and talked about innovation and modernization. It really looked like a shrine for any crackers. MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) is quite old and they are the ones who also write the laws (not rules) of cricket.

I remember watching a women’s cricket match between Australia and India back during my school days and it really did not look that professional. It seemed more of few young women brought together to put up a show, after rehearsing few times. So while picking up tickets for women’s cricket we were a bit hesitant. Well but I must say, few years down the line women’s cricket seems to have progressed well and we were amazed to see that on the ground.

DSC03011Some of the bowlers like Brunt from the British side and Ferling on the Australian end really put the Batsmen on defensive. Brunt and Marsh really did a very good job from English end. Some of the medium pacers like Shrubsole also did quite a good job. Lanning on the Australian side while Edward on the British made half centuries and stood there like Sunil Gavaskar or Rahul Dravid, making sure they stay there while wickets kept falling on the other side, keeping the hope alive for their respective sides.

The bowler’s kept alternating between the Nursery end and the pavilion end keeping the action alive. Although we could not witness any Sixes, there were few spectacular fours and it was fun to clap and appreciate those strokes. I am not very conversant with cricketing terminology, but some of the square cuts and straight drives were marvellous.

A British bowler named Shrubsole, fielding closeby to grand stand seemed to be quite popular among the people as she responded to few passing remarks. She enjoyed giving autographs for few of the enthusiastic English kids.

DSC03012Perry on the Australian side, although had a very good pace, did not start really well. She added extras in double figures to English scoreboard and added to our doubt on Australian performance.

At 203 for 7 Australia did a good job, but looking at the overall bowling and fielding performance from English women and the stable start by Edward on the batting end, gave a feeling that English are dictating the game and Australia has a very bleak chance. In fact Australian’s really had to wait till 10th over to take first English wicket. But then Australians really bounced back into the game as they kept the run rate really low. As the wickets started falling and as Edward also returned to pavilion, the game had really turned on Australian side.

It was really hard to believe that finally England had lost, as their last wicket fell and Maitri was overjoyed as she had been backing Australia since beginning. It was a terrific match and as they say anything can happen in cricket.

The St. John Woods’s station was crowded with people returning back from the match as we boarded the Jubilee line train for Stratford.

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