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Saturday, 2 December, 2000, 12:06 GMT
England and Michelle Pfeiffer
Kathryn Leng
In the third instalment of her exclusive World Cup diary, all-rounder Kathryn Leng reflects on the opening ceremony and celebrates England's first "Michelle" of the tournament.

Week Three

After having the weekend off we travelled to Lincoln - our home for the next four weeks - which is about 20 minutes drive from the centre of Christchurch.

We are based at the university and each of the eight countries have a "block" (house) all to themselves. The rooms are standard university halls type - a bed, a desk and a wardrobe, but our house looks onto the beautiful Lincoln BIL Oval, one of the World Cup venues.

The doormice of the team are very pleased at the prospect of rolling straight out of bed into warm up.

The official opening ceremony was the following day. Right on cue the heavens opened and it rained heavily and continuously all day.

We were treated to a "Powhiri", a Maori ceremonial welcome, and were all deemed "Waewae Tapu" (sacred feet) visiting new territory and thus we had to be honoured and acknowledged. The whole team were mesmerised by this.

Typical night

We have seen the New Zealand men do the "haka" but the whole ceremony we saw contained so much energy.

We had been warned that male warriors, dressed only in skimpy short beaded skirts with sticks would come up to us and stick their tongues out, roll their eyes, shout and jump around - just like a typical night out in my home town of Pudsey in Yorkshire in all honesty, but that's another story.

Michelle Pfeiffer
Nothing like a good "Michelle"

The women sang and chanted and we were treated to a traditional Maori song at the end, a truly fantastic experience.

Australia played New Zealand in the opening game at the BIL Oval so we were able to get a bird's eye view from upstairs and an incite into how the pitch will play.

The crowd was a bit disappointing, probably due to the weather, and the groundsmen had been up all night with water hogs to dry the pitch.

It was very windy and cold but I still managed to burn my nose. The Aussies bowled very well and a couple of them seem to have become a few yards quicker since February.

They will definitely be the team to beat in this tournament.

Omitted

The Kiwis got the Aussies under a bit of pressure at one point but Cherie Bambury and the hard-hitting Karen Rolton saw them through. Rolton's approach was no surprise - she broke at least three fingers and hit one of the biggest sixes on their last tour of England.

Our first game was against the Netherlands and, having struggled with our batting in the last couple of years, it was great to see a classic Charlotte Edwards century and Barbara Daniels chip in with 79 runs.

They both could not have timed having a good innings any better.

On the bowling front, Sarah Collyer bagged what we call a "Michelle" (five for as in Pfeiffer - get it?). After being omitted from the squad in the summer it was a great debut for her in the World Cup.

It was decided that we wouldn't play any spinners so I practiced my art of mixing energy drinks for the girls and made sure they were cool enough for them.

Believe me there is nothing worse than your drinks bottle being left in the hot sun all afternoon.

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See also:

19 Nov 00 |  Cricket
Kiwis too strong for England
17 Nov 00 |  Cricket
Taylor inspires England
14 Nov 00 |  Cricket
Cassar hits passport snag
12 Nov 00 |  Cricket
England women fired up for duty
06 Nov 00 |  Cricket
Goss back for World Cup
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