One of the first women to play cricket at Lord's, former Australia captain Mary Loy (nee Allitt) has died, aged 88.
Loy was a pioneer of women's cricket, vice-captain of the first women's touring side to be invited to practice on the Lord's ground in 1951.
She was captain for the next tour of England in 1963, when the squad became the first, Australian or English, to dine with Marylebone Cricket Club committee members in the famous Long Room at Lord's. It caused a sensation in the UK, with the local press dubbing them Australia's 'Glamour Girls'.
Loy toured England, Ireland and Scotland three times, and New Zealand twice in her 11 Test career, culminating with captaincy of the Ashes tour in 1963.
Loy made her highest Test score of 76 in the second Test of the 1963 tour to put Australia in a strong position. England managed to hold on for the draw in a thrilling finale, with stumps drawn on the third and final day of the Test nine wickets down and still 16 runs behind.
Born in Deniliquin, New South Wales, Allitt was a right-handed opener and scored 348 runs at 17.4 in her international career. In 2005 she was retrospectively presented with her Baggy Green cap and Test cap No.35 by former men's captain Steve Waugh.
After retiring from cricket she played a pivotal role in the development and support for children in her local community in the Riverina, NSW. In 2007 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her commitment to the game of cricket. She also received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and the Centenary Medal in 2001.
CA chief executive officer James Sutherland said: "Mary was a great contributor to women’s cricket both in Australia and internationally. She holds a significant place in the history of women's cricket and was well respected on and off the field.
"Mary and her team-mates were trailblazers of the game and she led her team-mates through a period of significant societal change, helping to pave the way for today's elite players.
"She was a role model for young girls and women aspiring to play cricket from grassroots to the elite level. Following her retirement from cricket she continued to contribute to the game and was a fine ambassador for women’s cricket."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 12 December, 2013 11:44AM AEST