Blackfinch New Road isn’t home for Tammy Beaumont but such is the success she enjoyed at Worcester last time she played there, the match against South Africa on Saturday June 9 will be a return of sorts.
On that day – back in 2016 – Beaumont opened the innings for the second day in a row for Mark Robinson and Heather Knight’s new-look England team.
It was the kind of consistency of selection that previously she’d only been able to dream of, having batted in almost every position from one to 11 across her four years in the side.
She’d made a 50 at Leicester the day before, her first in England colours, and followed that up at Worcester with her first international century and a record opening partnership alongside long-term friend Lauren Winfield – who also reached three figures for the first time.
“It was such a special day,” explains Beaumont. “It was all a bit of a whirlwind – we’d played at Leicester the day before so we’d hot-footed it down the motorway, checked into the hotel, and gone straight to the ground.
“We won the toss and Lauren and I got off to quite a good start. We ended up racing each other to 100 which was just amazing. It was such a special moment for both of us.
“Firstly to see Lauren get to her first-ever 100 and then to follow it up with mine, even though I tried my best to run myself out! It was an amazing day for both of us.”
It was timely that Beaumont and Winfield chose to deliver their best under the picturesque Worcester Cathedral.
Only months before Robinson had made the difficult decision to move on from England’s legendary former captain Charlotte Edwards and Knight, Beaumont and co were under a new sort of pressure to deliver.
Fortunately – deliver they did, and in doing so they laid down a marker for the new-look England side that would go on to win the ICC Women’s World Cup at Lord’s in the summer of 2017.
The game against South Africa will be England’s first international on home soil since that special day at HQ, and Beaumont believes that the roots of that World Cup success can be traced back to New Road.
“It was the start of us as a side. Robbo came in to the group for South Africa away, at the end of 2015, and immediately he put up on the wall all the world records and all of our records.
“We actually didn’t hold one of those records – whether it was highest individual scores, most sixes, best figures or whatever.
“It was a bit of a shock to us because we clearly weren’t setting the world on fire. We wanted to prove a point when we started the Pakistan series and I think that showed from how we played and how we’ve played since.”
The landmark day was even more special for Beaumont and Winfield because they did it at the home of one of the greatest mentors in their cricketing life – the late Worcestershire and England paceman Graham Dilley.
“Dills had a massive impact on both mine and Lauren’s career,” says Beaumont.
“He was the perfect person at Uni to give me the odd push in the right direction. He always made sure I was pushing myself and for Lauren, he was the first person that made her believe she could play international cricket.
“We were devastated when he passed away and we actually had a drink after the Worcester game in 2016 and said that we couldn’t have done it on a better stage.
“He’d have been looking down on us and he’d have loved to have seen us get to our landmarks. We felt like it was fate that we both got out first hundreds there.”
With a record-breaking hundred under her belt at Worcester – as well as precious memories – it’s a game that will take on extra significance for Beaumont. And she can’t wait to get going.
She said: “It will be really nice to return to Worcester. All of those special memories will come back as soon as we arrive.
“I’m sure we’ll be fighting for the spots we had two years ago – we’re a superstitious bunch! It was a great crowd when we were there in 2015, with loads of schoolkids, so hopefully we can replicate that and have a similar result.”