Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

England v New Zealand, 1st women's Twenty20, Chelmsford

Heigh-ho? Please no

Some good cricket, some highly annoying music, and an "ow" moment kept this England women's fan occupied at Chelmsford

Hannah Sibley

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Laura Marsh made 18 off 10 balls to give the England innings some momentum, England Women v New Zealand Women, 1st T20I, Chelmsford, June 29, 2010
Laura Marsh pumped up England's total © Getty Images
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Choice of game
Having finished my A-levels, I decided that the best way to celebrate was to go down to Chelmsford to watch the double-header. I'd seen the women play Australia last year, and I wanted to see how they were doing after a disappointing Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Team supported
I was supporting England, but also the women's game. The lack of coverage the England women get in the national press annoys me, but I guess that sums up the mood of the nation about female sport.

Key performer
Charlotte Edwards played a captain's role, as she anchored one end during the England innings. It was disappointing that she didn't get her fifty. Laura Marsh and Lydia Greenway added a bit of impetus to the end of the England innings too. Danielle Wyatt scampered her way to 10 and picked up three good wickets in the New Zealand innings.

One thing I'd have changed
Getting rid of the "Heigh-Ho" that greets a bowling change. It was highly irritating to myself and many people around me. Unless Disney makes a sequel that involves Snow White and 10 dwarf cricketers, I'm not really a big fan. What's wrong with just announcing who's replacing who?

Wow moment
More of an "ow" moment really, when Susie Bates collided with Nicola Browne while taking the catch to dismiss Claire Taylor. Browne was on the ground for a bit, but she managed to shake it off in the end.

Player watch
I was perched at square leg, so I did get a fair few players in front of me. During the New Zealand innings, Marsh was kept busy by the singles being taken and did get a lot of appreciation from a group of young girls.

Shot of the day
Marsh's scoop for four. It was part of a massive over and a quick-fire cameo from Marsh. It really helped England build a decent total. Danielle Wyatt also played a scoop shot, but it wasn't as well executed as Marsh's.

Crowd meter
Considering it was a Tuesday afternoon, it wasn't that bad. There was a mixture of support for both teams. There were a group of Kiwis near me, waving a New Zealand flag and giving massive support to Doolan when she was bowling and batting. Someone also managed to get everyone's favourite new instrument, a vuvuzela, into the ground.

Entertainment
I was very surprised by the absence of the Sugababes' song, "Girls", which seems to be mandatory whenever England women play. Instead every England player was greeted with, "I am a woman on a mission". I found it amusing that when Liz Perry was dismissed, after going for one big shot too many, the song "Where's Your Head At?" was played.

Accessories
A cool box with lunch and drinks in is essential. My binoculars were well used by us all, although not always to view the finer points. Charlotte used them to keep an eye on Stuart Broad, and spotting the Sky Sports heroes was also popular. Being the middle-aged member of the party, I had my radio for Test Match Special, which is mostly a delight, except when they let Boycott on.

Overall
There was some fantastic all-round cricket by the England team, and they looked very good for their win. However, credit to New Zealand as well, considering the fact some of them had stepped off the plane a couple of days ago. These are two top-class female sides, and it bodes well for a good series. The day allowed children (little and big, like myself!) to get close to professional cricketers and allowed girls the chance to see that they too can excel in their favourite sport.

Marks out of 10
8. It was an enjoyable game and a lovely day. It would have been nicer to have had a bigger crowd, but it is still term-time and people have jobs. The game could have been a bit closer too, but at least England go 1-0 up in the series.

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Hannah Sibley is an 18-year-old student, now with too much time on her hands, who supports Essex and England. She plays for her village ladies side, where she'd make Paul Collingwood jealous with her love for the leg side. She lives in Suffolk and hopes to study English Literature at university in October.

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