Sophie Ecclestone embracing Commonwealth fever as cricket makes its bow

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Sophie Ecclestone embracing Commonwealth fever as cricket makes its bow
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Chester cricket star Sophie Ecclestone is the cat that got the Commonwealth cream.

The women’s game is featuring at a multi-sport Games for the first time in the T20 format with home team England widely tipped to challenge for the maiden gold.

Starting with Thursday’s spectacular Opening Ceremony it’s fair to say Heather Knight’s side are lapping up the experience, young quick bowler Issy Wong for one.

She said: “A lot of us hadn't processed that this is the Commonwealth Games.

“Walking into the Alexander Stadium and there's 30,000 brummies cheering and 'We Will Rock You' is playing, I remember thinking, 'Oh my goodness, this is amazing.

“Sophie came round and said this is going to be one of the best nights of your life, make sure you enjoy it. We're part of something bigger and we really feel that.”

Wong, 20, was inspired to play sport by London 2012 and is now taking centre stage at the first multi-sport Games staged in England for a decade.

She said: “I actually had tickets to loads of other events before I found out I was playing.

“My parents have been taking their friends as the fourth member of the family because I can't make it to table tennis.”

England eased to a five-wicket win in their opening game against unfancied Sri Lanka at Edgbaston.

Three wickets from Ecclestone helped restrict the visitors to 106-9 from their 20 overs, with Wong and Freya Kemp also chipping in with two apiece.

Teenager Alice Capsey struck 44 as England reached the target with nearly three overs to spare.

Veteran Katherine Brunt, who took a wicket with the first ball of the match in her 100th T20 international, said: “I’ve played a long time.

"I’ve played in Ashes series and World Cups, which have a certain feeling. With this, I can’t explain, but there’s a little bit more on top and we found that out tonight.

“We have a bit of learning to do very quickly on what to do with that feeling. It’s a huge occasion and we feel it.”

England return to action on Tuesday against South Africa who they whitewashed 3-0 a bilateral T20 series this month.

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