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Lily's England tour diary

This guest blog is from Lily Harvey from Howzat! The Cricket Podcast, who travelled all the way from Australia to enjoy The Hundred alongside Polly Starkie of the Noughtie Child Podcast!

Here's her day by day account of her exciting travels.

Day 1:

On the 25th of August, I made my long-awaited trip over to England, where The Hundred awaited me. After spending a few days with my family, on the 28th I met Polly and Richard from the Noughtie Child Podcast for the very first time. We made our way to Edgbaston Cricket Ground, where we were greeted with thumping techno music blaring out from inside the ground. We were watching Birmingham Phoenix versus Manchester Originals, in both the women's and men’s games. This was my first The Hundred game, and I was not disappointed! Manchester pumped Phoenix in a thrilling 18-run win. I felt like a lucky charm at this point.

In between the women's and men’s games, I had a little gift that I brought over for Kate Cross, which I managed to hand over with a bit of media attention. I think the Tim Tams were much appreciated!

After this, I saw that many fans had cups with the Phoenix players on. I had never seen such a thing and needed to get my hands on one.

Polly and I went on a big hunt all around the ground (while also casually bumping into Euros


Lau ren Hemp!!), and eventually after 40 minutes of asking every drink stand if they had any Phoenix cups, I found one. And only £1 too, an

absolute bargain if you ask me!! In the evening, the Originals men put on an incredible performance, bowling Phoenix all out for 75! I think they wanted an early night, which was understandable. Polly and I did too, as the next day we were off to Nottingham!

Day 2:

The next morning, we were on a train to Nottingham, Trent Bridge bound, for Welsh Fire versus Trent Rockets. Now, it may seem silly, but one of the things I love about England is that trains have tables. In Australia, trains just don’t have tables, which is extremely unhelpful. So, I enjoyed eating my breakfast of champions (Nestle magic stars, which is okay for breakfast because I’m on holiday!) on my table. When we arrived, the weather wasn’t looking too great, I must say. It was very cloudy and grey, and looked like it was about to start pouring. Luckily, the weather held it together though! We departed the station and had some time to kill before the match started. We went England Lioness mural hunting. Unfortunately, one was covered by construction barriers, but we got to see Leah Williamson in all her glory! Nottingham was actually quite empty with nothing to do, so we just made our way to the ground.

We were kindly given tickets for this match, so we had some brilliant seats right in the front section. Both Polly and I were cheering the Trent Rockets on, which was quite awkward as we were sitting amongst the Welsh Fire families. I think we secretly enjoyed the controversy, cheering loudly in dead silence, feeling holes being burned into the back of our heads. In the innings break, we went to one of the many ice cream vans stationed around the ground. I felt like I couldn’t fully experience a cricket game in England without buying a Flake 99. Polly kindly reminded me that although I paid £7.50 for two, they used to be 30p back in the day. Making a good mark up there!

Turning the attention back to the cricket, although Welsh Fire put up a fight, it was a comfortable win for Trent, Villani and Du Preez sealing the deal with 18 balls to spare. As Welsh Fire had no chance of making the finals, they did one big final lap, signing autographs and taking photos with fans. I got a Welsh Fire hat from Alex Hartley as a ‘thank you’ for making the trip over, which was a lovely piece of memorabilia.

I also met Nicole Harvey and just had to get a photo with her, because she is my name twin, after all! Although we wanted to hang around for a bit longer, we had a train to catch, and a huge day ahead of us.

Day 3:

This day was by far, my favourite of them all.

On the early morning of the 30th, we were travelling by train (again) to London, where we were going to see Phoenix versus London Spirit. I was absolutely buzzing for this one, as The Home of Cricket has been at the very top of my bucket list for numerous years. After catching the train in (which we slept on, so no table use), we caught the tube a few stops. I forgot that it is genuinely one big wind tunnel, so that was eventful. We were extremely hungry, so went to the first breakfast place we could find. We accepted the fact that everything was going to be overpriced, as we were in London, but when Polly ordered Avo on toast and received a pile of cabbage on toast, we couldn’t help but laugh. It was better to laugh than cry. After breakfast, we made a quick stop-off at Abbey Road but quickly left again as we got a bit embarrassed watching everyone slowly traipse across it.

Then it was time for what we were actually there for; the cricket. We walked into a random section on the bottom level to get a picture, but it was an incredible view of the ground, so we decided to just stay there. Apparently, they weren’t anyone’s seats anyway as we never had to move. I was just shocked that every single seat is padded. You know it’s fancy when the seats are padded. At least we got to watch Phoenix lose while sitting comfortably. Seats aside, it was actually an intense game. A low score set by Phoenix, and Spirit really struggled to chase it down. Eventually, though, Dattani and Scrivens built a much-needed partnership to knock Phoenix out of the competition. We were rather disappointed to not see Sterre Kalis playing, as it was her birthday. We (hopefully) made up for it though, as we had a birthday present for her, which we gave to her at the end of the match.

We then went up to our actual seats in the nosebleeds to watch the beginning of the men’s match but had to leave relatively early as we had a train to catch back to Birmingham, but wanted to cram in a little bit of sightseeing first!

Day 4:

Today was our fourth and final game, and it was time to head up to Manchester, for Originals versus Invincibles! We arrived by train a few hours before the game, so we had a wander around the city. After a necessary M&S trip to get some Percy Pigs, we headed into a WHSmith to buy some Match Attax Hundred cards. I think I got Polly hooked, as we ended up buying more than 10 packs

each. We both got Kate Cross cards, which we planned to get signed. We then went to a lovely hidden café and got a much-needed cake before heading to the ground. We were purely running off adrenaline by this point, as we were absolutely exhausted by our past few days. We just had to power through one more day.

Once we arrived at Emirates Old Trafford, we went to find our seats. This was a must-win for the Originals, so we were wearing our Cross 16 jerseys. Game-wise, it wasn’t a brilliant one for Manchester. They didn’t fire from the start and struggled to chase down the huge total of 163 that the Invincibles set. It was a lovely warm day though, so we enjoyed soaking up the sun. I did make it to the tv coverage though, after Winfield-Hill hit a huge six, which I threw back to Erin Burns, I got a nice little shoutout from Alex on commentary! After the game, we headed down to the boundary to chat with Crossy one last time before I returned home. She signed our cards, which was a success.

One of the Originals media crew, who remembered me from Edgbaston, told me he had a gift for me. He returned with this, I huge version of the Kate Cross gold card. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but cool, nonetheless.

After the women’s game, Polly wanted to show me MediaCity, so I had a mini tour around there. I was shown the Blue Peter Garden (I didn’t even know what Blue Peter was before this day), and we went to Nando’s for dinner. Nando’s isn’t as good in Australia. We then headed back to the ground, and caught the back end of the men’s game, with about 50 balls remaining. Polly’s dad and brother had arrived by this point, to watch the men’s game. The game got quite intense, very quick. It was neck and neck the whole time, and then Manchester only needed 1 off 2 balls. To witness this win in front of a home crowd was insane, the crowd erupted! It felt very good to be on the winning end of a game for once. After this game, we made the long drive back to Birmingham.

And just like that, all the cricket was done. Travelling back to England was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was initially really worried about making the trip over by myself, but it was an extremely smooth journey. This was definitely out of my comfort zone, but it just goes to prove that in order to reap the rewards, sometimes you just have to leave your comfort zone. This was an experience I will never forget, and something I am so lucky to have done.

A huge thank you to the Starkie family for inviting me into your home for a week and thank you to Polly for touring me around 4 grounds, in 4 cities, in 4 days. I absolutely loved it.

Be sure to listen to Howzat! The Cricket Podcast & The Noughtie Child Podcast to hear more tales from Lily and Polly.

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