Abbi Aitken Tour Diary #4
Saturday 23rd February (Arch Trophy Final)
The last day of the tour was upon us! With no game today the squad and coaches decided to make the most of the weather and brilliant facilities and departed the hotel for a morning training session at the magnificent Zayed Stadium facilities.
The girls gave it their all and the well-gelled team gave 100% effort during the session under the baking sun – this time thankfully with no sand storms! As the week’s daily Coach Carswell Quizzes had resulted in scores that were too close for comfort, coaches Kari and Steve decided that the team should battle it out on the field to decide on the week’s winner. The session was finished off with a number of cricketing challenges to earn your team points. Apologies to all you losers, but one team had to win...and well, it had to be mine! (Come on team Hashtag!) Well done to Lily Steindl, Lynne Dickson and Liz Priddle – what a team we make!
After training, the squad had time to watch some of the ARCH Trophy final between our previous competitors Sussex against MCC. We departed the Zayed Stadium for the final time and arrived back at the hotel mid afternoon. The girls enjoyed a well-deserved break and had time to relax by the pool or visit the nearby water park on Yas Island.
On our last night in the UAE we took taxis into the centre of Abu Dhabi to enjoy a meal at Vasco’s at the Hilton. A massive thank you to Kat Heathcote and Iain Macneil for treating the squad on their last night and also for all their support in the build up to the tour and throughout the week – Iain, those ice creams were just what we needed in that heat!!
After dinner the girls had time to experience some shopping malls and try out their haggling skills, and it soon became apparent that Steve had done this before! After numerous Roy Bans, Okays, Guccie’s and Rulex’s were purchased, we headed back to the hotel for the final time. For those last-minute-Annie’s (like myself), it was time to pack and get as much sleep as possible before our busy day of travelling was to commence, as we were due to depart the hotel at 5am to head for Dubai Airport. The journey back to Scotland seemed longer than our travels out to the UAE – but maybe that had something to do with the fact we knew we were heading home to grey skies, wet feet and no chance of outdoor cricket!
The past week has been one which I will remember for a long, long time. On a personal note I have learned a great deal about myself as a player, but more importantly about my role as a captain. It has been brilliant to watch the girls form new friendships over the week, and the dynamics and personalities within the team have been fantastic. The noticeable improvement in our game was great to see and I know this opportunity has done nothing less than enthuse and motivate the girls to work towards maximising their potential to help continue the development process of the women’s game in Scotland.
On behalf of the players and myself I would like to thank the coaching and management team who helped the girls on and off the pitch this week, Sport Arabia for all their efforts in making this trip happen and run smoothly, and most importantly to every business, family member, friend, teammate and general cricket lovers for contributing towards the tour in any way that you did. Without your contributions the girls and I would not have been able to experience the remarkable learning opportunity that we have had the privilege to do so.
Now bring on the season!