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Victory gives England an Ashes tonic

Features Posted 15th January 2014 view comments

What better way to start a new year on Sportswomen than talking about a great win for women's sport - none other than the England cricket team beating the Aussies by 61 runs in the only Test of their Ashes series.

I was delighted to have ECB Head of Women's cricket Clare Connor and former England spinner Holly Colvin alongside side me in the Sky Studios café. To top that we had a live link-up with captain Charlotte Edwards in Melbourne to check in with the team and see how they were faring ahead of the ODIs and T20s.

England's cricketers celebrate their win over Australia.

England's cricketers celebrate their win over Australia.

Edwards warned they aren't going to get complacent; the Ashes haven't been retained just yet (even though they need only two more wins!!). The England captain told me they would be only too aware of the backlash they may face from the Australian side...beware the wounded animal.....

Although I'm hoping for a series whitewash to perhaps go some way to make up for the whitewash the men suffered at the hands of the Aussies, all three of my guests agreed they would face a tougher test in the shorter-form games, largely because women's cricket is played far more often in this format, hence the relatively low scoring in the Test - batting for hours isn't something they do regularly.

Holly told us she's taken a break from the game to pursue another career within cricket. Currently working for the Lord's Taverners Disadvantaged and Disability charity that is doing some fantastic work with children, she's definitely not ruling out a return to top level sports in the near future.

The great news coming from my chat with both Clare and Holly is that more and more women and girls are taking up cricket, nearly a million have come through the Chance to Shine programme since 2005. Now the big challenge is getting those young girls into local teams and counties.

Also on the show, Jane Dougall went to meet Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger to find out how she's helping a UK Sport initiative entitled Girls for Gold who, along with GB Canoeing, are seeking to find the next Olympic champion.

More than 100 girls were put through their paces on a taster day. It looked gruelling but what a great way to give the next generation a real sense of what the sport entails and to get them hooked on a new sport.

If you missed us on Tuesday you can catch up with the programme via Sky's On Demand service or at 9am on Sunday on Sky Living.

I'm back next week with three-time Olympian and triple world champion Beth Tweddle. We'll take a closer look at the state of British gymnastics and will get Beth's take on who we should be watching for Rio. Join me on Tuesday morning on Sky Sports News from 10:30am.

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