Saturday, April 28, 2012

Series Victory in Roseau

What an amazing test match, and week, we have had here in Dominica! We have loved every little bit about this place, and Windsor Park is now ranking top in most of the touring group's best places to watch cricket lists.

Following our first great day, the Sheilas in the Waving The Flag group, and many of the blokes, donned our Chick Pink, as is our tradition. Adrian, inexplicably, managed to come to the day's play in a full Santa suit, and wear it all day, attracting so much attention. So funny.

Day 2 was a cracking day of cricket, with the home boy in Shillingford finishing the innings with an impressive 6 wickets, and Aussie 'keeper Wade gritted through to score his maiden test century. The day just kept giving, with the change in innings giving us 8 WIndies wickets, as the Aussies had a very good day.

After the Dawn Service, Springer and I ventured into the Party Stand for the first time on tour, and as a right of passage here in the Caribbean.

Having heard of the disappointment of the Party Stand in Barbados, and seeing the action but not making our way to Trini Posse in Port of Spain, it had to be done. Also, the sign promised all that we wanted in a party stand for Day 3, with drinks listed within the price (for Days 3 and 4 at Windsor Park), and so we thought we were set. Getting over to the sun-drenched side of the ground and grabbed a shade tent, we were given drink tokens which certainly did not last long!

Getting a different, ground-level perspective of the ground and the day's play, we were soon chatting with the locals around us, and taking it all in. But as the sun crept further into our shade position, and it's heat was unbearable, we returned to the shade of our stand seats with the group, once our rum allowance was exhausted! Nothing will really beat the Party Stand day in Antigua!

With Australia completing their second innings, with half centuries to Cowan and Ponting, the West Indies were set the seemingly mammoth target of 370 to win by Lunch on Day 4. Shillingford, again, brought the crowd to life with another 4 wickets in that innings, bring a 10-for for the match. So impressive!

Getting to a five day test match at this beautiful ground, the atmosphere walking through town to the ground yesterday morning was buzzing still. The stands were full, loud, and full of local colour and excitement. It was so great to see, and be part of it. Dominica is certainly proud to have test cricket here.

The West Indies put up a great fight to the end, with an amazing last wicket partnership between the captain Sammy and home boy hero Shillingford, before the final wicket was taken by the Australians, and the series was won 2-0.

It felt a bit bittersweet at the end, to be honest, with the local crowd so involved and vocal throughout that last partnership, as they believed in the possibility of victory. The Aussies were humble in victory, and our Waving The Flag group were acknowledged and mentioned in captain Clarke's speech, which we were very pleased about!

The celebrations moved from the stand, to a walk over the ground and look at the wicket, to more drinks and banter out the back little bar village with the locals. Several bars were found on the walk home, before a hotel party here had our group's final tour dinner and the players from both teams, and all the pretty people of Roseau having a great time at the Fort Young.

This was such a great test, in an amazing venue and town, and everyone talked of the hopes of returning here for another amazing week within the cricket schedule. Dominica has elevated to be my favourite Caribbean destination, such a surprise and late inclusion, which has been so amazing.

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