Friday 7 March 2008 

Closing Thoughts - Caroline Atkins' Final Diary Entry

As we approached the end of a long tour it felt strange to think everything came down to just two days. We knew whatever happened we’d still be going home with the Ashes and half the one-day trophy from Australia, but to lose in New Zealand would undermine everything we had achieved so far. We were 2-1 up with two games to play so our intention was to secure the series win in the fourth game.

They made their intentions pretty clear from the off as they raced past 100 inside 20 overs without loss. We responded by taking wickets and fighting for every dot ball. At one point they looked like posting 300 but finished up 258-9, a pleasing fight back from us.

The pitch had played well and so we intended to do the same with partnerships and contributions to pass their score. Squirt and I made our way to the wicket to begin our reply but that’s all we did as the rain came before a ball had been bowled. We never got back on either so the match was abandoned. It would now come down to the last game whether we’d win the series 3-1 or draw 2-2.

We were all pumped up for our last match day. The forecast was better and there was a series at stake. We put them in and bowled well. New Zealand made 241-9 so we needed the same score that had brought us victory in the second game. The other similarity was that I got to bat again. There was no dodgy food illness and no precipitation to stop me and so I relished the opportunity. We made a good start and had established a good base when I dragged on for 28. Squirt and Tails continued well and skipper Lottie came to the party, eventually taking us home with 83*. Lydz and Jen had also chipped in too so it was a great team effort to bring us great team success.

Our tour is considered England women’s most successful tour ever. It was fantastic to be a part of it and makes the upcoming international fixtures more exciting than ever. We’re a very good side with a chance of being great. The stage is set with South Africa and India touring England in August-September and then the World Cup in Australia 2009.

I hope next winter’s tour is even more successful than this one. Meanwhile we’ll all return to our homes and resume our work, but one thing won’t change, we’ll still be thinking about it and training for it.

Caroline Atkins

Cricket World.com – For all the latest women’s cricket news, reports, live scores; broadband radio and TV; free audio commentary; blogs and exclusive interviews