Women’s cricket has changed a lot since the 1963 Australian women’s team toured England 50 years ago. In a period of significant societal change the 1963 side were pioneers of women’s cricket and paved the way for today’s elite players.
In a blending of generations, Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry joined the 1963 side for their 50th anniversary reunion on the weekend. The reunion was held at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame and coincided with an exhibition titled A History of Australian Women’s Cricket, which featured many never before seen photographs and relics.
Under the leadership of captain Mary Allitt and Team Manager Lorna Thomas MBE the team was the first female side to tour England in 12 years. The tour proved groundbreaking for more reasons than one and they can take credit for many of the developments witnessed in the women’s game in the last few decades. They were the first women’s team (either Australian or English) to be invited by the committee of the MCC to dine with committee members in the famous Long Room at Lord’s, while Lorna was one of the first women admitted to membership of the MCC.
Of the original 16-member touring team 12 attended the reunion, with one travelling from as far as Scotland. The reunion provided an opportunity for the team to reflect on their history-making tour in which they attracted plenty of media attention and were tagged ‘Glamour Girls’ by the UK’s press.
Haynes and Perry brought with them the ICC Women’s Twenty20 and ICC Women’s World Cup trophies and compared tales of travelling abroad in different eras. Miriam Knee, a member of the 1963 team and captain of Australia’s first ever World Cup team in 1973 in which they came runners-up, was particularly admiring of the 50-over silverware, noting it was “the cup I did not catch the first time round.”
For Haynes and Perry it was a unique opportunity to meet with pioneers of the game, whose experiences travelling abroad were vastly different to those of today’s current group.
“It was a great opportunity for us to spend some time with the players who hold a significant place in the history of women’s cricket,” Haynes said.
“In many ways they were trailblazers of the game and have allowed us to get to where we are today.”
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 16 April, 2013 9:49AM AEST