The open-top bus ride in London to celebrate the Ashes is now nothing but a wistful journey down memory lane for England's women, who are staring at a home series defeat to New Zealand. England are two down with three to play and need to win their next match to stay in the series.

Perhaps another open-top bus ride - the wind whistling through their hair and blowing away the cobwebs of defeat - may help them stir memories of victorious scenes two years ago. A nice idea, although this time around they are 2-0 down already and the bus is heading through Blackpool.

Gone are the hordes of adoring well-wishers lining the capital's streets all the way up to the euphoric encore in Trafalgar Square. Instead, there are a few quizzical pensioners, stags on does, hens on nights and happy families all enjoying the sunshine on the promenade in the north-west of England.

The trip, though, is just as much for the women to see Blackpool - indeed, most of the England players come from the south - as it is an awareness raiser. Now Arran Brindle and Laura Newton, of Lancashire, have quit and Yorkshire's Katherine Brunt is injured, the most northerly representatives are Nottinghamshire trio Nicky Shaw, Jenny Gunn and Jane Smit. Sussex is the current hotbed of talent, with five of the 14-player squad coming from the county.

Speaking of others who are unlikely to have witnessed what the resort has to offer, the New Zealand players were also on the bus to take in the sights, enjoying a breather and sitting pretty on their lead.

But Blackpool - with its kiss-me-quick hats, Victorian grandeur and end-of-pier attractions - can always bring a smile to even the glummest of faces and Charlotte Edwards and co are keen to raise such a cheer. They hope that England's return to the resort, for the first time in 25 years, will be a happy homecoming. Winning their last three matches would be a feat equivalent to scaling the iconic tower blindfold, while holding a candyfloss in one hand and an ice-cream in the other. Highly unlikely yet still, with enough application, not impossible.

England started their summer against New Zealand well, coasting to success in the Twenty20s, but then had a big dipper, losing two one-dayers, with a third washed out. Now they must really push for the big one, a fact that has not escaped Edwards: "It's a must-win fixture for us and the players are really up for it. They're a strong side, but we know we're capable of beating them and hopefully that's what we'll do come Sunday."

If they are to have any hope, they will need to be as solid as the rock they had specially commissioned for the matches, and which they will be giving away at the grounds in the ties on Sunday and Monday. And, at the moment, it's hard to even make a dent in a strong New Zealand.

Tickets for the matches at Blackpool CC are priced at £5 for adults; Under-16s and concessions are free