Today was the first day of our #cricketgirlsontour season and Abby and I found ourselves sitting in our familiar River End stand at The Swalec Stadium, equipped with posh Lords-esque packed lunch and a bottle of South African, my favourite…
A lunch to rival Lords!
Our beloved Swalec Stadium
I think we must have been the only girls in the ground under 50 for this first day but we didn’t mind at all. The great thing about being surrounded by the mature and being a young lady is that you get a kind of ‘special treatment.’ They love sitting near you because they’re fascinated by you. Don’t get me wrong, Abby and I talk about the cricket at hand, we do know our stuff, but our attention spans are not as good as the full-on fans around us and most of the time we’re either bantering with players on the boundary, sneaking into studios for some commentating, drinking wine or tweeting pictures of forks in weird places on the cricket pitch…
After our posh lunch as made by Abby (I can’t cook for toffee), we were joined by Essex CCC bus driver Marc Marangou for a catch up and some top banter. I’ve known Marc since his team’s trip to St. Helen’s at Swansea back in 2007. Every year we meet up and every year he tells me his side is going to beat mine – they rarely do… The Essex cricketers shouting embarrassing things to him every time he sits by us is one of the highlights of week – you can’t beat banter at someone else’s expense! Love you Marc! – actually so much so that I avoided abusing him with ammunition given to me by Alistair Cook that evening (name-droppin’ell!).
Me & Marc
Marc & Abby
After lunch we sneaked up to visit the legendary Ed Bevan of BBC Wales to tell him of our #cricketgirlsontour this year. Bless him, I think he’s always intrigued about what we’re going to do next! We then went into the BBC Essex studio where we met up with Dick Davies – who interviewed me last season when Essex played Glam at Cardiff, about my cricket book. I had a great 10 minutes chatting about the book, and got to join in with the commentary. It’s still my dream one day to have my own commentary channel – I’m sure people would be intrigued to listen to cricket from the mind of a 28-year old Welsh lass with the attention span of Dory from Finding Nemo…
BBC Essex Commentary
The rain stopped at 11am so you’d think we’d manage to see some cricket but none at all was played on day 2. The ground is right next to the River Taff which apparently was at its highest for a while so the water wouldn’t drain. Your choice becomes: sit in the stands freezing your butt off waiting for a miracle or sit in the bar chatting to randoms, playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire on an iPad and drinking the bar dry. Natuarally we chose the second option. The Member’s Bar at The Swalec Stadium has a lovely atmosphere with a great menu which we recommend to all who visit. Abby and I, being freezing, weren’t that adventurous and went with a safe jacket potato with grated cheese! Excellence service though and a definite recommendation. A good-looking bar man also helps… Cheers also to all our followers who helped us cheat at Millionaire!
Member’s Bar #tweetwhatyoueat
In the night we hit a place that every sportsman worth his salt has tweeted about, Nando’s. I had to drag Abby kicking and screaming as she vowed never to set foot in one but we decided that if it’s a cricket tour, then we NEED to go! Just wish someone told me in time that the lemon and herb was actually quite spicy as I couldn’t feel my tongue for the rest of the night! I get abuse all the time for my ‘crapness’ with spicy food but cheers to Dizzy (Gillespie) who backed me up, I’m not alone!
Abby in Nando’s …which I liked!
Fair play, the Glammy groundsmen did a cracking job of getting the wicket ready for Day 3 after all the rain. As you can see from the pics below we did see a day of play but like I said, when you have the attention span as bad as mine and Abby’s you need to have distractions ready! Nail-painting is a must at the cricket, especially as that night would be spent partying in Tiger Tiger.
Nail Painting – just don’t get hit by a six!
Not a bad position to be in…
I think the majority of the afternoon however was spent #forking, or #extremeforking as it turned into. Once again, for those who aren’t up on their #forking, just think of the YouTube sensation ‘planking’ and replace the posing people in strange places with a fork – it’s not rocket science! Our efforts started off pretty average but with the help of wine and the legendary Glamorgan groundsmen (big up to Kenny) we manage to achieve the ultimate #forking picture – I challenge anyone out there to upstage these efforts. You’ve got NO CHANCE! Make sure you tweet your efforts to myself and Abby – we’ll RT the best! (@LilMissAshes and @abbyosullivan)
Extreme #forking as placed by Groundsman Kenny
#forking Mark Pettini – sorry Swampy!
At least I did get to flash my eBook ‘Point to Fine Leg’ around on my iPad. It’s still selling but I really do need to get back on the marketing horse. Big up to @RikiWessels for helping me with that on Twitter last week!
Point to Fine Leg on the iPad
We also managed to get a lolly to Ravi Bopara who was celebrating his birthday. The lads made poor Marc hunt Cardiff for a birthday cake!
Abby with BBC Wales legend Ed Bevan
Unfortunately Day 4 saw Abby disappearing off to a hen do in West Wales so it was mostly just me all day. At this point though, the majority of my stand were talking to me so I didn’t feel on my own at all! My team weren’t having a great time of it in the field sadly, but thankfully, Welsh weather stopping play on Thursday meant the match would end up as a draw anyway.
The Essex lads fielding at slip
My cousin Alex (@Lexie943) joined me for the evening session. Alex has only ever been to the cricket once in her life and that was last year when I dragged her to a Glamorgan v Essex Twenty20 match. Not sure what it is about Essex matches? I thought she’d be bored to tears but I think my quirky commentary and drunken descriptions of what was going on in the middle kept her amused! “Watch him stare at the dude with the bat now when he hits it for 4…”
We finished the tour with a night out in Mocka Lounge and Tiger Tiger (whilst Abby was in a tent somewhere taking one for the team). It was nice to catch up with some old friends and show the visiting team the best places to go – us Welsh lasses are good like that! I got to see some top dance-offs although I still think I’m the best! #slightlybiased
I’m sure this drink was blue not green…
All in all it was an excellent first leg to #cricketgirlsontour – they’re always eventful. Cricket matches leave me with a shocking hangover every time but it’s the best kind of hangover. This year I’ll be encourage more and more girls to attend the cricket and have the fun that Abby and I have. I think I’ll be bringing them to the T20s first tho. Remember people, if you have female mates or other halves you keep trying to drag to your matches, get them to download my eBook on www.pitchvision.com/lilmissashes and that will teach them everything they’ll ever need to know about cricket!
A note to all though who plan on doing a similar tour – every tour should have a playlist. This week’s was ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson (apologies to Alex Hales who hates this song), ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye, ‘International Love’ by Pitbull, ‘Primadonna Girl’ by Marina & the Diamonds, ‘Rain Over Me’ by Pitbull & Marc Anthony and ‘Hot Right Now’ by DJ Fresh.
Look out for more #cricketgirlsontour coming to a ground near you. I think our next entry will be from sunny Colwyn Bay – don’t worry rest of Britain, we will be driving out of Wales at some point!