Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Playing at Lord’s will be pretty special
9:52am Tuesday 24th January 2006 in Sport
Isa Guha looks ahead to this year's big tests and reviews last year's Ashes battles.
PLAYING at Lord's is going to be pretty special and a definite chance for revenge.
If I'm picked for the Test match against India in the summer, it will be the first time I have played there and it will be the best ground I've played on.
It's the home of cricket and is also my home ground as well. I've trained there on many occasions so it will be extra special to play there.
My friends and family will be there so it could be a good occasion and if they're behind us, we can have the extra edge.
In terms of cricket, it will also be testing because of the famous Lord's slope.
Obviously, there's going to be more movement from one end of the pitch. I'm more of a seam bowler and I saw the way Glenn McGrath bowled there last year so hopefully he can give me inspiration if I play.
We lost quite badly out in India and hopefully, it will be different.
We've come back stronger when we've lost like against Australia last year. This time, we will have played throughout the season and we will be used to the conditions so we know it will be different when we play India.
This year we start with club matches at the end of April. We then have the Super 4s at the end of May to the beginning of June and then a few county matches and the international series.
Last year was an incredibly busy year for women's cricket with plenty of ups and downs.
It started with World Cup 2005 in South Africa which is what I had been working up towards for the past two years.
We went with plenty of preparation having toured there the year before and again went early to play a two-match series against South Africa which we won.
Although it was a disadvantage that we were the only team playing out of season we still performed well and, although we were disappointed to lose to India and New Zealand in the group stages, we still managed to get to the semi-finals to play Australia.
It was my first game against Australia so I was up for the challenge, knowing in the back of my mind that they had been the best team in the world for the past ten years.
This was really our chance to see if we had finally caught up with them and whether the hard work of the past two years had really paid off.
Women's cricket in England has changed in that time. We were being included in all of the same sponsorship deals as the men and Lottery Funding meant that 24 players in the country were being paid expenses for training and travel thus making it more professional.
Fitness regimes and regular contact with coaches meant that we were growing as a unit and I could see the improvements in the way we had been playing.
There has also been a lot more competition since the introduction of the Super 4s tournament involving the best 48 players in the country splitting them into four different teams and playing against each other early in the season.
So when we lost the match it was a great disappointment, although we proved to ourselves that we were more than capable of beating them and established ourselves as the best fielding unit in the world.
The first thing we said in the dressing room was that revenge would be sweet in the summer when they came over to play.
And oh how sweet it was beating them 1-0 in the Ashes series.
Much like the men's side this was a real team effort where everyone stuck up their hand to do something important in both matches. Unfortunately we lost the one-day ODI series 3-2 but every game was well contested and going into the last game at Taunton with the scores at 2-2, it was a thrilling encounter.
They batted first and on a Taunton wicket, 260 odd was an average score. Our batsmen batted superbly and made full use of the conditions.
I didn't even think I would need to bat until the last over needing five to win. I faced the first ball and managed to guide it for a single. With nine wickets down it was always going to be a close finish and unfortunately the last wicket fell needing just four runs to win.
I ended up on one not out but I was really proud of how we had all played throughout the series.
My most memorable game to date must have been the third ODI at Stratford this summer.
We were losing the series 2-0 and needed to pull something out of the bag. The wicket was a bit slower much to the dismay of Aussie fast bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick and we also batted first this time which we hadn't done in the previous two games.
Stratford isn't a county ground so many people were circling the boundary and there were plenty of friends and family in the crowd as we were having a barbeque social after the game. There was an immense feeling of support and I really think that aided us when we came to field.
The openers took two early wickets and then a steady partnership was formed between the Aussie batsmen. However we were constantly neck and neck until the last ten overs where they needed 70 odd. We were always putting pressure on them and an excellent catch in the deep by Laura Newton showed us that it had to be our day.
They needed seven off the last over when Katherine Brunt Nunny came onto bowl. My heart was in my mouth throughout the whole over. Fielding at midwicket meant that I was amongst the action which, looking back now, was well worth it.
Two wickets fell in five balls meaning they needed three runs off the last ball.
Alex Blackwell shaped up to drive the ball to deep midwicket and when she struck the ball it seemed like slow motion as the ball lost its momentum and dropped right in front of me.
Nunny would argue that I probably could have caught it but I just wanted to get the ball back to the keeper and make sure there were no mistakes.
After I threw it in I just looked at Jane, the keeper, and ran towards her. I couldn't hear the massive roar as the crowd wiped the sweat off their foreheads because I was still in the zone.
The girls bounded in, screaming with joy and we all clung onto one another and savoured the moment as it was one truly special day the day we beat the best team in the world for the first time in many years.