Tamsin's England World Champs Blog: Group Stage so far
The World Champs are here and it's fair to say we have got off to a pretty solid start.
The opening ceremony took place on Sunday night as all the teams and supporters packed in to the stadium to celebrate the 2011 World Championships. Singapore certainly know how to put on a good show! We had cheerleaders, singers, dancers, a ball girl routine that would put the Wimbledon lot to shame (I'm going to introduce it at Surrey Storm, it's right up our street!) and the coolest set of drummers. They banged away with water shooting out and lights, whilst hitting on each other's drums. I'm guessing you had to be there, but it really was very cool.
The only time I got a little jealous was when Nat Von Bertouch - the Aussie captain - got to walk the World Trophy out on to court. I could definitely see myself drinking out of that...fingers crossed. To finish off all teams got to march around the stadium led by their captain and flag. It's always at this point I get a little buzz...it's begun.
Singapore opened the games against Botswana and we hung around a bit to watch. It was good to see old team mate Asha Tett playing very well for them, and as we sat in the crowd I bumped in to lots of people: old Firebirds coaches Vicki Wilson and Kylee Samson, plus old team mate Ama Agebeze. Lots of netball gossip flowing - brilliant.
Monday saw our first match versus Malawi, and due to a late start we hit the courts in the morning for light surface training and to run through our combinations. I love game day but hate waiting around (I'm very impatient)! A lot of girls had a nap in the afternoon, but I like to stay awake, I don't like to miss anything, so I kept myself entertained on my new iPad 2. As we arrived at the venue, roomie Rach got herself in to trouble by forgetting the changing room speakers. Luckily our physio brought her laptop and calm was restored once more. After a few dance offs to the 'shuffling song' and a team rendition of MJ, Man in the Mirror, we hit the courts.
You know the one thing I'll never forget is my very first cap, and the emotion I felt when singing the national anthem. What I love is although the feeling has changed slightly I still always get that little chill, when we stand there and sing. There's nothing to match that...ever. Anyway I ended up playing the first 3 quarters at WA and it was great to get out there. We were by no means perfect and Malawi made it difficult for us. They were tough and unorthodox at times but we powered through to a 65-33 win. I had a few takeouts to rival Rach Dunn this season, but it was worth it to get the ball rolling.
This morning we all woke up quite tired and a little bruised. I can never sleep after matches and yesterday was no exception, I think too much. However after brekky (I've discovered their omelettes, yum!) and a good team meeting we were good to go again. We faced Barbados, and again we came out victorious, 74-42. Another good win. They weren't as tight as we were versus Malawi so the game flowed a bit more, but again we got sloppy at times. I played the first half at WA and it was good to try things out there. We've still got stuff to put right but we're definitely heading in the right direction.
After the game we stayed around to sign autographs and watched the first half of the New Zealand vs Wales game. If all goes to plan we'll face NZ in the semis...exciting times. We then headed back to the hotel to prepare for our final group game tomorrow against Malaysia.
Off the court everything has chilled out a little bit as we are in full game mode. However special mentions have to go to all our supporters who have travelled to see us. They are altogether at the games kitted out in red and white and it makes such a difference to have fans cheering for us and rivalling all that Aussie and Kiwi support. I've got to meet quite a few now (check out the pics) and it's been very cool to get to know them all. You know who you are and keep up the great support!
For all you guys back home who want to see what they're seeing we will be on Sky Sports 4, Wednesday 6th July at 5pm. Enjoy and wish us luck for our final group game. I will be in touch to let you know how we go, and hopefully give you more updates from the knockout stage.