Abbi Aitken Tour Diary
Scotland Captain, Abbi Aitken gives us her first diary installment of the Development XI tour in Dubai for the ARCH Trophy.
The team gathered at Edinburgh Airport and, regardless of some very early alarms being set that morning, there was noticeable excitement throughout the squad. After successfully managing to negotiate the self-check in there is always that slight panic when someone isn’t listed on the flight!
However, with the first mini drama over, the bags were checked in and the tour was underway as we boarded the first flight of the day to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. The flight passed relatively quickly, although felt that little longer for me having drawn the short straw and being forced to sit next to the chatter box that is Lynne Dickson.
After arriving at Schipol we were all present, minus one passport –well done Sammy! The next six hours were to prove rather long and uneventful, as those early alarms finally took their toll on most of the squad.
After what seemed to be a mammoth wait, we finally got the call to board our final flight of the day to Dubai airport, the six hour flight was soon not as daunting as first anticipated after the variety of movies seeming to keep the girls entertained. Once again luck was not on my side, this time having to tolerate insomniac Coach Carswell on the overnight flight.
However, this proved a positive thing for Tour Manager, Lea Tsui, who enjoyed a long sleep, knowing she had someone to wake her whenever the food would arrive. We finally arrived at Dubai Airport at 7.30am. With all passports, bags and players accounted for, the last leg of our journey was a 2 hour bus transfer from Dubai airport to our hotel in Abu Dhabi. Those managing to keep their eyes open for the bus journey were rewarded with some of the famous sights of the UAE.
A very tired squad finally arrived at the hotel at 10am, and the players headed to their rooms to catch a couple of hours of sleep before heading to the Zayed Stadium for an afternoon training session. The session gave us a good idea of the conditions that we are to face during the competition. A rather exhausted and sleep-deprived squad headed back to the hotel to grab some dinner and head to bed for an early night in preparation for our first match of the tournament in the morning against Wales.
18th Feb 2013 (Scotland Dev XI v Wales)
A refreshed, re-energised and enthusiastic squad departed the hotel at 9am on Monday morning. The players seemed excited and motivated about the challenge ahead. Upon arrival to the ground, the girls showed good spirit in our warm up and a really positive attitude was noticeable amongst the squad. Once the Welsh team had arrived, I went out to toss the coin and the Welsh skipper started off her tournament with a 100% record and asked us to field.
Although the result didn’t go to plan, the girls showed determination, good support and a bit of fight about them in the tough conditions we faced. We created plenty of wicket-taking opportunities, which we failed to take advantage of on a few occasions. The girls showed honesty and true evaluations of their personal performances, and were proud of how we carried ourselves as a team. Post-match discussions were positive and it pulled the squad together to focus on the next match ahead.
The squad headed back to the hotel in reflective mood, but didn’t lose sight of what needs to be done to make improvements in the next game.