Saturday, February 9, 2008

This one's for the ladies...(women's cricket)

This one’s for the ladies...(women’s cricket)

We all know that the male human species plays the brilliant game of cricket. Men’s cricket has been a big influence on world cricket, but what about the feminine species of humans? Little is known about them but yes there is cricket played around the planet by females.

It is said that women’s cricket dates back to 26 July 1745 when a newspaper called The Reading Mercury wrote a report about a game that involved teams from Bramley and Hambledon near the city of Guilford in Surrey. Here is the report printed about that cricket match:

“The greatest cricket match that was played in this part of England was on Friday, the 26th of last month, on Gosden Common, near Guildford, between eleven maids of Bramley and eleven maids of Hambledon, all dressed in white. The Bramley maids had blue ribbons and the Hambledon maids red ribbons on their heads. The Bramley girls got 119 notches and the Hambledon girls 127. There was of bothe sexes the greatest number that ever was seen on such an occasion. The girls bowled, batted, ran and catches as well as most men could do in that game."

As in men’s cricket in that time, underarm bowling was the method of cricket deliveries. Sources say that the round-arm action we see today was devised in the early 1800’s by a lady called Christina Willes. She decided that the round-arm action would be more appropriate especially for the ladies because sometimes when bowling underarm their arms got tangled up in the skirts they wore back in the day. This appeared to be a more convenient way for women to bowl. However it was a fellow by the name of Tom Walker who actually invented the round-arm action, which goes back to the 1790s.

In 1887 the first official women’s cricket club, called the White Heather Club, was formed at Nun Appleton in Yorkshire. In 1890 a highly successful tour of England by a team known to be the Original English Lady Cricketers was undertaken, with large crowds attending their exhibition matches. The team also made a handsome financial profit from the tour but unfortunately due to their manager running away with their profits the team were forced to split up. A photograph of the team can be viewed by going HERE. An article from James Lillywhite’s Cricketers Annual reads the following:

"As an exercise, cricket is probably not so severe as lawn tennis, and it is certainly not so dangerous as hunting or skating; and if, therefore, the outcome of the present movement is to induce ladies more generally to play cricket, we shall consider that a good result has been attained."

The Women’s Cricket Association in England was formed in 1926 and 8 years later in the 1934-35 season they embarked on their first overseas tour, going to the other side of the world to Australia and New Zealand. This tour also included an important milestone for women’s cricket when they played the first Women’s Test Match against Australia in December 1934. Then in 1958 the International Women’s Cricket Council was formed to organise women’s cricket which is regularly played in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Denmark and the Netherlands. During the season of 1960-61 England went on a tour to South Africa. In women’s domestic cricket in Australia in 1967 the hard hitting right-hander Jan Molyneaux made a then record 298 for Olympic v Northcote in Melbourne’s A grade final.

Three years later MCC’s Easter coaching classes were held at Lords and were attended by Sian Davies and Sally Slowe of Cheltenham Ladies’ College (a photo of this event can be seen in Wisden at Lords, page 129). This broke the gender barrier for cricketers attending these coaching classes at the time.

The first official Women’s Cricket World Cup was held in England in 1973 which was 2 years before the first Men’s Cricket World Cup event was held. England won this event, and 6 years later the first women’s Test was played at Lords between England and Australia. In 1998 the Women’s Cricket Association handed the organisation and planning over to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). After the eighth Women’s World Cup in 2005 the International Women’s Cricket Council was officially integrated under the International Cricket Council and under them the Women’s Cricket Committee formed and they handle the issues and matters that are specific to women’s cricket.

If you would like to find out more about the women’s version of the great game, click HERE. Another helpful link I recommend is the following: .

Womens Cricket2

Womens Cricket

New Zealand Womens Cricket Team

Indian Womens Cricket Team

Australian Womens Cricket Team

*Acknowledgements to, James Lillywhite’s Cricketers Annual,,, The Reading Mercury.