The Don's World Cup Memories in photos
I have been fortunate enough to have been an avid spectator at no less then three World Cups. At the first in 1993 I watched only two games - England v Australia, and the Final - England v New Zealand at Lord’s. They were the first two games of women’s cricket of any type that I had seen but I soon became hooked.
In later years followed England in every game during in and around Pretoria, South Africa, in 2005, and in 2009 in and around Sydney, Australia. Here are a few of the images I snapped at those events. Some I like because of the content of the picture - perhaps it shows a player at her best - or maybe a player displays a more personal moment with a team mate. Others remind me of events at that tournament even if that event is not shown in the shot. It’s surprising what sticks in your mind all these years later.
So, reminiscing, here we go with 2005...
Jane Smit makes a fine stop. A player I have admired both for her skill and her longevity. I first saw her play in the 1993 World Cup and she was still in England colours for the 2005 WWC, playing her last game for England in 2007. She is still keeping for Notts in the County Championship.
A good skipper always knows when a player needs support. Clare Connor encourages fast bowler (and recently cricket commentator) Isa Guha in the match against Sri Lanka.
Sadly the only shot from this tournament of someone I felt could have been the greatest spinner to grace the game. Here with bat in hand is Rebecca Steele who, according to the New Zealand coach had four different types of delivery and was working on a fifth. He did have a wicked sense of humour but I believe he was serious. In those days most spinners had one delivery!
A classic shot from a classic player. Arran Brindle, arguably the best all-rounder England have produced since I started watching this sport in 1993, she excelled at all three disciplines, not always being recognised for her fine fielding.
Watching the world’s fastest bowler was an abiding memory of the 2005 World Cup. Cathryn Fitzpatrick had me really sit up and take notice. I feel she is still the quickest I have seen in this sport and her performance against England in the semi-final possibly the best match performance by a quick I have seen to date. Her 3-27 involved England’s top three!
And so, four years later, to Sydney...
An unfortunate side of cricket which I include here to illustrate the courage of players in the heat of battle.
Here Rachel Priest is hit in the mouth causing cuts and bruises. She retired from the fray spitting blood but was back only a few overs later. Women cricketers are made from sturdy stuff.
At one of Australia’s more attractive out-grounds, Drummoyne, Stafanie Taylor hit one of the furthest sixes I have seen. As it left the bat I wondered for a second if it would reach the boats bobbing around in the harbour, a distance which, on reflection, not even Chris Gayle could not have accomplished.
Haidee Tiffen not only skippered New Zealand but played for a while at ‘my’ county Sussex in the U.K. We knew of her playing prowess before she arrived but while there she showed what a fine coach she could be with all age groups. The White Ferns are fortunate to have her expertise in this role during the 2017 World Cup, perhaps the best since Mike Shrimpton (that man with the wicked sense of humour) who led them to victory in the 2000 World Cup.
Nicky Shaw celebrates taking two wickets in two balls in the 2009 final against New Zealand. I would credit her with perhaps the greatest quote from not just this World Cup but from the sport generally. She originally was not picked to play but was slotted in at the last moment when Jenny Gunn was injured during the warm-up. She latter claimed the ‘Player of the Match’ Award! I only wish I could remember exactly how she put it but in essence she said “I started the day crying, and finished it crying, but we had won a World Cup in between”.
And there can’t be any other way to complete this series as an England fan than with this shot of the team celebrating the 2009 victory. Quite a few faces will be familiar to recent converts to watching this sport, some on the pitch and some in the commentary box. One player will be deeply involved in the running of the 2017 tournament. It was a day any England fan there will never forget. We knew how to celebrate, as a pub close to the ground can attest.