Cricket lovers rejoice. It’s nearly time for the Ashes. The Women’s Ashes series 2015, that is.
Both the England and Australian cricket teams are now fully professional and about time too. Sky is finally taking them seriously and, for the first time, Sky Sports will screen live ball-by-ball coverage of the seven match multi-format series.
This brilliant series design, dreamt up by Director of Women’s Cricket at the ECB Clare Conner, will consist of one Test Match, three One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals, with points awarded for a win per match.
These ladies will be storming the cricket grounds of our green and pleasant land, so pack up your hampers and champagne and bag a spot in the sun. A number of glorious scenes await you, starting at the county ground at Taunton for the first One Day International on 21 July, then across the Somerset-Gloucestershire border to Bristol on 23 July and finally at Worcestershire’s New Road on 26 July.
The jewel in the crown will be the single Test Match, led by England’s captain Charlotte Edwards at Kent CCC’s Spitfire Ground on 11-14 August.
The cream of England’s future talent is busy playing for England Women’s Academy by taking on Australian Women Shooting Stars in Dubai. Hot property to look out for are Georgia Elwiss, an impressive all-rounder, and England’s top three Tammy Beaumont, Evelyn Jones and Fran Wilson, all of whom have been more than useful with the bat.
They will all be vying for a place in the Ashes squad to join the likes of senior legends Charlotte Edwards, Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight.
Women’s cricket – the beginning
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the past to 1934 and the now obsolete Exhibition Ground in Brisbane for the first-ever women’s Test Match. The tension was palpable.
Captained by the rather fierce-looking Betty Archdale, England won comfortably by nine wickets. England’s superstar Myrtle Maclagan swung the willow for a blistering 119 in the second Test at Sydney and earned her place in the record books as the first woman to score a century.
As an aside, the women’s Test series between England and Australia only became known officially as the Ashes in 1998 when a ceremony took place in the Harris Garden at Lord’s. A miniature bat, signed by both teams, and a copy of the WCA Constitution and Rules book were consigned to the flames and the Ashes were sealed in a trophy.
In 1937, it was Australia’s turn to visit England for the first time and a transformed side squared up to the poms at Northampton, winning their first Test by 31 runs.
In 1949 the Australian public showed their vast appetite for women’s cricket when 20,000 men and women showed up for the Adelaide Test. The Gargantua Betty Wilson did not let them down: she smashed her way to the first century by an Australian woman in an international against England before taking 6-23 with the ball. England hadn’t a hope in hell and lost by 186 runs. This was well and truly Australia’s Ashes.
By 1963, England had their last win against Australia for 42 years.
While the men were having a corker of an Ashes series in 2005, the women were at it too. In a fairy-tale ending for England their wait for the ultimate prize was over: the Ashes were regained as they won convincingly by six wickets.
As we all know, the Ashes are now back where they belong after our women proved victorious in the last back-to-back series. The less said about the men the better…
Find out more…
You can book your tickets now at www.ecb.co.uk.
For a full history of the women’s game, email [email protected] for a signed copy of her book ‘Skirting the Boundary: a history of women’s cricket’. Half the profits go to the cricket charity Chance to Shine.
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