Pioneer of Women’s Cricket Rachael Heyhoe Flint gets a gate named after her at Lord’s

Former English skipper and the first female cricketer to hit a six in a Test match, Rachael Heyhoe Flint now has a gate named after her at the Lord’s cricket ground. It previously was the East Gate which was unveiled before the ongoing England men’s Test against South Africa. Back in 2017, aged 77, Rachael Heyhoe Flint passed away after a short illness.

 

Pioneer of Women's Cricket Rachael Heyhoe Flint gets a gate named after her at Lord's. PC: The Guardian
Pioneer of Women’s Cricket Rachael Heyhoe Flint gets a gate named after her at Lord’s. PC: The Guardian

 

Rachael Heyhoe Flint is only the second cricketer, after WG Grace, to have a gate named after them at Lord’s. Her son, Ben, said the family was “truly humbled”.

Rachael played as a goalkeeper for the England national field hockey team in 1964 and then captained the England cricket team between 1966 and 1978, she also played in the first women’s match at Lord’s against Australia in 1976 and was unbeaten in six Test series. Rachael played for England from 1960 to 1982 and she captained her side to win the inaugural 1973 Women’s Cricket World Cup, which England hosted.

Rachael was one of the first female members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). At her time of death, MCC president, Clare Connor took part in the ceremony during which a bas relief sculpture of Rachael Heyhoe Flint and a plaque were also unveiled. She’d said, “thrilled to have a permanent commemoration celebrating Rachael’s impact on and off the pitch. Rachael Heyhoe Flint was not only one of the best female players to have played the game, but her pioneering drive to further the cause of women’s cricket for future generations has left a remarkable legacy and impact on our sport.”

Her son, Ben Heyhoe Flint, who’d also attended the ceremony said he and other family members were welling up as it took place. He’d said, “Mum gave her life to the game, so it’s wonderful that the game now chooses to honour her, her contributions then, and the legacy she leaves behind.” On the gate to be renamed Ben had said, “would be the honour of all possible honours. A perfect memorial to match Mum’s beliefs as a champion of access and equality. I am just wondering if I will need to bow when I next go through it.”

During her career, she played 22 Test matches and 23 one-day internationals. She was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2010. In the 38 Test innings, Rachael scored 1594 runs at an average of 45.54 and has got as many as 10 fifties and 3 centuries in the format with the highest score of 179. In 20 ODI innings, she got to 643 runs at an average of 58.45 and has got 4 fifties and a century in the format with the highest score of 114. With the ball, she’d picked a wicket in ODIs and 3 in Test match cricket.

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When her playing career ended, Rachael Heyhoe Flint became one of the first women admitted to the MCC, became a successful journalist, and got back into contact with her beloved Wolves as she headed up the club’s work in the local community. In 2004 she became the first woman elected to the full committee. She was awarded the MBE in 1972, the OBE in 2008, and was made a life peer in 2011.

Highlight:

Rachael Heyhoe Flint captained the England side for 12 years from 1966 and had lead the side to victory at the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1973. In 2004 she became the first woman to serve on the committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and also served on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

She was the 13th person since World War Two to be made an honorary freeman of Wolverhampton, and she also had a spell as vice-president of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

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