Women's Ashes memories: Holly Colvin, ex-England spinner

Holly Colvin celebrates the wicket of Australia's Meg Lanning in 2013
Colvin played in the victorious Women's Ashes series in 2013 before taking a break from cricket

In 2005, 15-year-old Holly Colvin became England's youngest Test cricketer, and her first contribution was to help win the Women's Ashes for the first time in 42 years.

Ten years on, with the Women's Ashes series getting under way in Taunton next week, the 25-year-old left-arm spinner, who is currently taking a break from international cricket, looks back at the magic of 2005 and reflects on her other Ashes memories.

1. Did you dream of playing for England in the Ashes and how did you feel on your Ashes debut?

If I'm honest, I didn't really dream of playing for England because by the time I realised it was a possibility I was making my debut at 15. I'd only seen England play an international for the first time the year before.

My Ashes debut was a little bit of a freak incident in that I was practising in the nets at Hove, as a net bowler for the England team, the day before - and based on that, got picked to play the following day! I had no idea who my opposition was, ie the greats like Belinda Clark, Lisa Keightley and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, so I wasn't that nervous. For me it was just another game of cricket with a slightly bigger crowd!

2. Champagne Ashes moment?

Taken quite literally, it has to be on the open top buses riding around central London after the 2005 win - the few bits of TV coverage you saw of me showed me swigging straight from a champagne bottle! It was a day I will never forget, which I will cherish for the rest of my life.

England's women on the 2005 Ashes bus parade
The Women's Ashes-winning side joined the bus parade the day after the men's Ashes triumph in 2005

3. Most important bowling spell?

I would say my best bowling spell was actually on debut at Hove in 2005. Given the context of how young and inexperienced I was, to be on a hat-trick ball was something special.

4. Best innings or bowling spell that you saw from a team-mate or opponent?

There have been a lot of stand-out performances over the years but I think there are two that really shine amongst the rest. One was Heather Knight's 157 at Wormsley in the 2013 Test - she just made batting look so simple. It was an absolute pleasure to watch.

The other was Isa Guha's nine wickets in Bowral in 2008. I've never seen someone more fired up - she won us the game.

5. Favourite Ashes ground and why?

Probably Bowral, because winning away from home was a massive achievement. An added bonus was that the changing room walls were really thin, so singing and dancing at the end of the Test, knowing the Aussies could hear us was even better!

6. Fiercest Ashes opponent?

Cathryn Fitzpatrick has to be up there as the fiercest opponent I've ever encountered. I actually got her out on my Test debut and I was a little worried because I thought she would want payback when she bowled at me. When it came to our innings, unfortunately (or fortunately?!) I was run out just as she was warming up to come back on (not on purpose). She would bound in from basically the boundary rope and put everything into every ball - even on day four of a Test.

Cathryn Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick went on to coach Australia after retiring from playing, although she stepped down in March

7. Most memorable Ashes match?

I would say my debut, but that feels like such a blur now. I think the moment I will always remember is at the Ageas Bowl in 2013, when Lydia Greenway steered us to victory in the second Twenty20 international. The Aussie captain Jodie Fields just had no idea where to put the fielders, it was a masterclass. What made it so special was the fact we didn't have a good record at the Ageas Bowl in recent times and the fact we had won the Ashes with a game to spare! It ended up being my last Ashes series so it will always be one I will take with me.

8. Ashes moment you would like to forget?

The Ashes moment I would like to forget is seeing Heather Knight doing the splits at Durham in 2013, injuring her hamstring. When Heather hobbled off the pitch the only position she could stay in that didn't hurt as much was lying down! I had to comfort her by giving her a running commentary of the game and tried to add a bit of humour in there... I think she was mainly laughing at me than with me, but it did the job.

Heather Knight pulls a hamstring as she is caught behind at Chester-le-Street
Heather Knight pulled a hamstring in the final game of the 2013 Ashes but was named player of the series

9. Best celebration you have seen in an Ashes match?

A personal celebration that I will always remember was Isa Guha celebrating the wicket of Karen Rolton lbw for four runs. She did her own lap of honour as if we had just won the Test match! The whole team had to chase her around the boundary to celebrate with her.

In terms of team celebrations, there is always a good sing and dance in the changing room afterwards. But there was a particularly memorable bus journey up to Gatwick after we had already retained the Ashes in Southampton in 2013 and were due to fly to Durham the next day. Put it this way, there was some serious karaoke on the bus and coach Paul Shaw's Elvis impression is legendary!

10. Who will win this summer's Ashes?

I think England are as strong as they have ever been, but we all know what tough competitors Australia are. The ODI and T20 sides are pretty evenly matched, so whoever wins the Test match will win the Ashes.

Read more Women's Ashes memories
Isa Guha, ex-England seamerClaire Taylor, ex-England batter
Ebony Rainford-Brent, ex-England batterClare Connor, ex-England captain
Arran Brindle, ex-England batter
BBC
Holly Colvin and Laura Marsh celebrate an England victory
Colvin and Laura Marsh saw England home off the last ball of a one-day international at Wormsley in 2009

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