It is the day before the England v India Test Match at Wormsley (women's obviously) and I am sitting in a hotel room in Shrewsbury. Being a southern lad I had no idea where Shrewsbury was until I looked it up on a map when I knew I would have to come here to watch the England U19 Super 3s week. It's almost in Wales!!
The best 39 U19 girls in England are here (well they are at Shrewsbury School actually) fighting it out to try and prove that they are better than their counterparts, and deserve the opportunity to progress up the England Women's Cricket Development Ladder. Junior Super 3s is always a tense week. Some of the girls here are just 14 years old - they are away from home for the week and they are being expected to perform. It is tough.
I am just here for today and then early tomorrow (7am) I will make a bee line for Wormsley and a seat in the Press Tent. It is a shame that the two events clash, not for me, but for the girls that are in Shrewsbury. If ever there was a target audience for the Women's Test it is the best 39 U19 girls in England and their families. They should have been given free tickets to the Test and told that it was part of their Development Programme to turn up and watch the likes of Sarah Taylor, Mithali Raj, Anya Shrubsole and Jhulan Goswami strut their stuff.
But it is not to be. Weather permitting it should be a cracking Test and closer than many people think - it's the Pros v the Amateurs - back to the good old days of the Gentlemen v the Players. If you can only get along to one session a day then make it the last. It will be when all the action happens. The girls rarely, if ever, play more than 50 over cricket, so, having been in the field or batting for 60+ overs already at tea, they come out for the last session to a whole new world.
After four days at Wormsley it will be back to West Sussex before heading north to Harrogate on Monday for Tuesday's England Women's Academy (EWA) v India 50 over game. It is a warm-up for the Indians ahead of their ICC Series against England proper. On Wednesday I head further north to Scarborough to cover the two ODIs between England and India and then return home briefly (not sure how yet as I have no car), before setting off to Lords on Monday for the final ODI. That done it is home for a day and then to the delight that is Garon Park in eastern-most Essex - a fine hotel in Southend with a promised sea view await apparently, along with two T20s for the EWA v South Africa (warming them up for their three match series against England).
And so from Essex its home for a day or two (not sure how many to be honest) before the small matter of the jaunts to Northampton, Chelmsford and Egbaston at the beginning of September for the T20Is v South Africa. I haven't even booked hotels for these yet - booking.com here I come.