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Player Diary: Laura Jackson on Women's Ashes, training and charity walk

Player Diary: Laura Jackson on Women's Ashes, training and charity walk

Read the latest winter update from Thunder Cricket's Laura Jackson...

Although the schedule change for the women’s Ashes is not absolutely ideal, it may be that it works to England’s advantage to have the T20s first.

The series has been brought forward by a week to January 20 and instead of starting with the Test Match, they will be starting with three T20s, a format which is one of England’s real strengths.

If we can get two or three wins under the belt, that would be perfect.

I don’t think the schedule change, brought about by some quarantine requirements for the World Cup in New Zealand which follows in March, will be too much of an issue.

The girls have been training really hard. They went away to Oman before Christmas, and it’s not as if it’s something only England have to deal with.

I think it will be a very interesting series - I’m really excited to watch it.

England have a couple of new faces in the squad like Charlie Dean and Maia Bouchier, which the Hundred has really helped bring through. That competition played a massive part in identifying those players who deserved to go up to that level.

It's been brilliant to see both Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone involved with England for a number of years now, and they are both great to talk to about their experiences. They are always happy to pass on advice to the younger Thunder players.

But Emma Lamb and Ellie Threlkeld have both travelled to Australia as part of England's A squad, who will shadow the senior squad. And they both fully deserve their call-up. It is great news for everyone involved at Thunder.

To see their faces when they got the news was amazing. I’m so happy for them and proud of them, and I know they’re going to smash it out there.

When it got announced, we all gathered round them as a squad and were really excited for them.

We lost three Thunder training sessions before Christmas due to Covid. We just didn’t think it was worth the risk so close to Christmas.

We’ve had a couple of sessions since the New Year, and it’s actually gone back to how it was at the start of Covid in that we’re now training in groups of five or six to cut down the chance of any issues.

I’m not too mad at that because, that way, you get more one on one time with the coaches.

It’s unfortunate that we’re not together as a full squad, which we love, but it’s not the end of the world.

We had planned to do our squad Secret Santa at our last training session before Christmas, but that plan got ruined unfortunately.

So, instead, we ended up doing it on Wednesday night.

I said to everyone, ‘Right, bring your presents in and we’ll give them out socially distanced’. And there were certainly some amusing ones going on!

My Secret Santa was for Craig White, our bowling coach.

Now Chalky hasn’t got a great deal of hair and is from Australia. So I got him a blonde mullet wig. And he loved every minute of it. He was strutting his stuff. It was so funny.

And Laura Marshall got me. I love my Pepsi Max, so she got me a giant crate of 24 cans. I’m certainly sorted for the next month now.

I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that I had been engaging in some pre-Ashes banter with my Aussie mates having played a lot of winter club cricket out there in the past. Needless to say, I have been keeping my head down and trying to ignore my Facebook going mental!

It has been disappointing for the men, but hopefully the girls can make it up for it over the next few weeks.

It was a quiet Christmas for me. Unfortunately my Mum has been taken ill over the last couple of years. This Christmas she’s been in hospital and in a nursing home as well.

So myself and my Dad had a very student meal of cheese on toast even though I tried to cook pigs in blankets.

I’m actually doing a charity walk in February as part of Mum Lynn’s illness. She’s got a rare heart condition which no one has ever really heard of called Sarcoidosis.

I’m doing the walk to raise awareness and money for research because they don’t know how it’s caused.

Everything will be finalised shortly, but we will be walking up Coniston Old Man in the Lake District, and I’m trying to get to the top of the mountain for sunrise.

I say we will be doing the walk, and that is because I have received some amazing support from players, coaches and management at the Thunder.

I put a message out asking would people get involved and do the walk with me and was expecting five or six to come back and say, ‘Yes’. But, so far, I’ve had around 30 responses and have really felt the love. It’s been amazing.

I have a JustGiving page set up and ready to go, and that will be launched shortly. Hopefully we can get a lot of support.

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