There are now 100 days to go until the 2023 Ashes summer gets underway.
With both the men’s and women’s teams clashing it will be a summer like no other.
The excitement comes to Taunton on Tuesday July 18th when the two old enemies come face to face in a Women’s ODI at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
To help mark International Women’s Day, we thought we would look back at the last time that England and Australia met in an Ashes ODI at Taunton.
With that in mind, we travel back in time to the summer of 2015. Little Mix were about to have their third number one single, David Cameron was Prime Minister, The Force Awakens and Minions were big at the box office, and nearly 8 million Coronation Street viewers watched the funeral of Deirdre Barlow.
Meanwhile in Taunton…
The day before the match, which was the opening game of the series, both squads joined forces at the Cooper Associates County Ground for a special launch event.
Players from both England and Australia came together to deliver a free, fun cricket session for the local community on the outfield followed by a question & answer session. A BBQ was also provided as over 200 fans received batting and bowling tips from the likes of England’s Sarah Taylor and Australia’s Ellyse Perry.
Following the event England women’s captain, Charlotte Edwards said: “The Women’s Ashes launch event was an absolute triumph! It was fantastic to see so many local fans come down and help get the series off to such a positive start. As a team we love delivering events like that and inspiring girls to play the game. I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves, and that we will see a lot of them again when things get underway for real.
“There’s a great deal of excitement in the camp and we just can’t wait to get underway. We’ve been preparing for a number of months now and are more than ready to get going. We’ve got a good blend and there are a lot of youngsters in our squad who are eager to get out there and play. We know that we are going to have to play really well if we are going to beat the Australian team.
“We love being down here in the West Country and we have always had good support in Taunton. It’s probably one of my favourite venues.”
As the sun set over the Quantocks, the thoughts of those who had been present at the successful launch event turned to tomorrow’s game. Who would get off to a winning start? They would have to wait less than 24 hours to find out.
Nearly 3500 enthusiastic spectators packed into the home of Somerset County Cricket Club for the game, and they weren’t to be disappointed as England got the 2015 Ashes series off to a flying start with a four-wicket victory with 26 balls to spare.
England’s impressive bowling, supported by a great fielding performance that featured four run outs, limited the Australians to 239 for eight.
When the hosts replied, a fifth wicket partnership of 122 between Natalie Sciver and Lydia Greenwood sealed an impressive victory.
After Australia opted to bat first, England’s Katharine Brunt struck twice in quick succession. Firstly she had Elyse Villani caught by Charlotte Edwards for 18 with the score on 24 and one run later in her next over she bowled Jess Jonassen.
Kate Cross joined the attack for the 12th over, replacing Anya Shrubsole at the Somerset Pavilion End, and with her third ball claimed Australian captain Meg Lanning lbw with the total on 46.
Ellyse Perry and Alex Blackwell then took the total onto 156 when Blackwell (58) was run out by a direct throw from Heather Knight.
Another superb piece of fielding by Greenway saw the end of Jess Cameron when she was run out for 23 with the total on 187. Perry had moved onto 78 when she was caught by Sciver off Knight with the total on 207.
The England fielders gave their bowlers brilliant support and the next two wickets to fall were both run outs. With the total on 213 Erin Osborne was run out by Edwards for one and in the next over Brunt ran out Sarah Coyte for seven which made the score 221 for seven.
Off the last ball of the penultimate over Brunt trapped Kristen Beams lbw for one as Australia ended on 238 for nine from their 50 overs.
Brunt was the pick of the England bowlers taking three for 48 from her 10 overs, two of which were maidens.
England openers Edwards and Knight added 20 for the first wicket before the captain was bowled by Perry for 15 in the seventh over.
Knight had moved onto 12 when she was caught by Lanning off Coyte for 12 with the total on 41 in the 12th over. Erin Osborne then claimed two wickets in quick succession as Amy Jones was caught by Jonassen for 15 with the total on 79 and in her next over she had Sarah Taylor caught by wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy for 30.
At 80 for four after 20 overs England needed a partnership to set them back on their way and Sciver and Greenway duly obliged. During the next 10 overs the fifth wicket pair took the total onto 124 without further loss.
Both batters played with increasing confidence, much to the delight of the crowd who cheered every run that was scored. Sciver was first to her half century when she hit a single off Coyte from the last ball of the 36th over, her runs coming off 58 balls. Greenway went to her 50 in the 41st over off 68 balls, but shortly after seeing up the 200 she was caught by Blackwell off Kristen Beams for 53.
The crucial fifth wicket partnership added 122 runs off 133 balls in 78 minutes to see England to the brink of victory.
Three overs later Sciver was caught by Beams off Osborne for 66 from 75 balls to leave England 217 for six. Georgia Elwiss (25*) and Brunt (7*) then saw England home to victory off the second ball of the 46th over.
For Australia Osborne ended with three for 39 from her 6.4 overs.
Afterwards Sciver said: “It was great to start with a win because in previous years we haven’t been quite as good at starting as we have today, so its really nice to get a win under our belts.”
Brunt said: “We were good at chasing today and we were in control of the game from start to finish, so we were quite happy to be chasing.”
Talking about the Australian total Brunt said: “I thought that they were 50 runs short and on a deck like today you want to be posting 280, which is what we would have wanted if we had been put in. At one point Blackwell and Perry looked like they were going to set 280, so I was glad we brought it back at the end.”
Talking about the fielding performance Sciver said: “ Over the winter we have had the chance to work on our fielding a lot and four run outs was what slowed them down in the end, so it was a real team effort.”
Hopefully, history will repeat itself this summer!
Make sure that you secure you place at the Cooper Associates County Ground for the Women’s Ashes ODI on Tuesday July 18th before prices go up!
There are still some tickets remaining for this must-see match, but prices will rise at 11:59pm tomorrow (Thursday March 9th)!
Adults tickets are currently available at the early-bird price of just £10, with juniors able to attend for £5 each.
2022 SCCC Members can still purchase tickets by logging into their account and visiting their “advantages”.
There is a special group offer of 10 tickets for the price of eight, plus a Family Ticket (two children go free with two paying adults).