As the men’s England cricket team mulled over yet another defeat in Australia, their female colleagues were battling out a vital, well-earned victory over their Australian rivals.
Taking one step closer to retaining The Ashes, England’s women forced the Australian batting order to collapse thanks to the nifty bowling of Jenny Gunn, Anya Shrubsole and Yorkshire pace bowler, Katherine Brunt.
It was Brunt’s spell with the ball that eliminated the rather stubborn final wicket of Australian batsman, Sarah Elliot, to seal the win and edge England closer to an over-all victory. With just two wins required out of the next six tests, it appears England’s women are well poised to venture where no Englishman has been this winter.
While team Captain, Charlotte Edwards, remains firm on the fact that over-confidence will not erode her team during their final few tests, it is hard for some English fans not to get excited over the rather enticing thought of finally defeating Australia.
But let’s defy Captain Edwards and romanticise for a moment. If England’s women defeat the Aussies it will appear that the English game will have a new cast of heroines. As the saviours of English cricket they could deliver the best sports PR coup the ECB could have asked for. The English and Welsh cricket board, as a sports management body, faced extreme pressure as they witnessed their male stars toil and collapse whilst their women’s side continue to stand firm and flourish, appearing to be the ECB’s saving grace.
The men’s defeat now appears to be the women’s cause. In an assumed unconscious display of support, Charlotte Edwards turned the men’s loss into the inspiration that is spurring her team on in their hunt for victory.
Whilst it could be debated that our women cricketers are taking the heat off the men, we can’t take away from them the great work they are not only doing for women’s cricket, but women’s sport in general. Over the past couple of years we have seen athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Adams celebrated for their individual success on the global stage and at home but could 2014 see an increase in interest in our female sport teams?
This sporting year will see international competitions such as the Commonwealth Games and the Women’s Rugby World Cup with an offering of the Women’s Football World Cup following in 2015. Illustrious competitions such as these will offer the ultimate opportunity for our finest female sport stars to capture the nation.
So, with a calendar full of elite sporting events and a wave of subsequent public relations support propel British teams, could 2014 be the dawn of a new era for women’s team sports? Three weeks into the start of the New Year and the England women’s cricket team already have the nation in a spin with their victorious performances against Australia.