The grim trial of strength that went mainstream: women’s Test cricket

Before the Australian women’s cricket team played their touring England counterparts in Brisbane in December 1934, the following directive appeared in the Courier Mail:

Excerpt Courier Mail 28 Dec 1934
“The word “test” must not be applied to any of these games, for both the Australian council and the English team refuse to associate with the games any suggestion of the grim trial of strength which the term applies.”

 

No one in the press or elsewhere paid any attention to this instruction, and the first women’s Test match concluded at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground on New Year’s Eve 1934, the visiting English winning by nine wickets.

It’s taken 83 years for Australia and England to come together for their 49th women’s Test (plus one washed out), and their four-day meeting at North Sydney Oval beginning on Thursday 9 November 2017 was a special occasion as the first to be played as a day-night fixture. Continue reading “The grim trial of strength that went mainstream: women’s Test cricket”

A bit of light reading about the 1999-2000 England womens tour

England’s women’s cricket team headed to the Antipodes in January 2000 to play one-day internationals in Australia and New Zealand. By the time they were ready to head east across the Tasman, England had lost the ODI series to Australia 0-4 and Karen Smithies had resigned as captain.

Working for Cricinfo at the time I covered every ODI of the Australian leg of the tour, and I believe I have the only comprehensive documentation of these games. Continue reading “A bit of light reading about the 1999-2000 England womens tour”

2015: A year in cricket (or at least the start of it)

January 1, Kirribilli House, Sydney. Two of these three men still had their job at the end of the year:

Now we have the entire Australian eleven in shot. #AusvInd #Cricket

A photo posted by Rick Eyre (@rickeyre) on

While you sleep, I train. While you eat, I train. While you party, I train. February 21 is my goal!

A photo posted by Michael Clarke (@michaelclarkeofficial) on

Richie Benaud 1930-2015

Richie Benaud, 1930–2015: Cricketing legend, broadcasting giant, cultural icon

My full obituary for Richie Benaud is published at Medium.

The Big Bash, And Juggling Cricket’s Three Formats

What started as a midsummer diversion in the English cricket season of 2003 became a multi-million dollar enterprise in India in 2008, and now almost every Test playing nation has its own professional Twenty20 competition, squeezed into their domestic program.

The 2011-12 season saw the transformation of Australia’s state-based “Big Bash” competition into the franchise-based Big Bash League. Continue reading “The Big Bash, And Juggling Cricket’s Three Formats”

Twenty21 revisited

If we didn’t know before, we do now. Australia’s 5-0 drubbing of England in 2006-07 is the first such triumph since 1920-21. But which was the bigger achievement? Continue reading “Twenty21 revisited”

Old enough to bowl, too young to talk

Cathryn Fitzpatrick had already held her 21st birthday party when Holly Colvin was born. Not turning sixteen till September 7, Colvin became the youngest Test cricketer for the English women on Tuesday. She paid dividends for England by taking three wickets on the opening day of the Hove Test against Australia – Kate Blackwell, Julia Price and Fitzpatrick – but at day’s end was not allowed to talk to the media. Continue reading “Old enough to bowl, too young to talk”

It’s Peden-Archdale time again!

The women’s Ashes Test series began at Hove on Tuesday. I don’t know why the ECB insists on scheduling women’s tours in parallel with their male compatriots. Australia had to do it in 2001 and England toured Australia as the men’s tour was winding up in early 2003. Continue reading “It’s Peden-Archdale time again!”

New Zealand sport fans to boycott Australia

The future of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy is in grave doubt following the publication of an opinion poll in New Zealand on Monday. The poll found that 53% of those people questioned support the banning of New Zealand sporting teams from touring countries “that violate human rights”.
Continue reading “New Zealand sport fans to boycott Australia”

Leicestershire v Australia

Leicestershire are batting first against Australia, and finally it’s starting to feel like an Ashes tour. It seems utterly mad that we are this far into the English summer, and not only has the England-Australia series not yet begun, but we’re only getting the first three-day tour match today.

Interesting to see that the Cricket Australia live scorecard is ahead of that of the Press Association outlets – at least at the time of writing (Leicestershire 27/1 on the first morning).

It will also be interesting to see how New South Wales all-rounder Jason Krejza goes for Leicestershire.

The Leicestershire v Australia tradition began in 1893 with a two-day match at Grace Road dominated by Harry Trott, who scored 100 and took eleven wickets.

The first first-class match between the two came in 1896, with Leicestershire narrowing avoiding a big innings defeat after Australian captain George Giffen took 14 wickets for the match.

It’s worth keeping an eye on the Leicestershire CCC website over the next three days. They’re putting a lot of effort into promotion for this game. Saturday is Fancy Dress day. Wow!