World Cup memories: 1973 March 4, 2009

Winning it in front of a Royal

Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, England's captain from the inaugural World Cup, shares her enduring memories from tournament

The women got their act together ahead of the men when it came to organising a World Cup - the inaugural women's tournament was held two years before the men's. Cricinfo asked eight current and former players for enduring memories from the past World Cups. We start the series with England's captain from the inaugural tournament.

Rachael Heyhoe-Flint receives the World Cup from Princess Anne © Getty Images

1973, England
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint

My recollections of the first World Cup in 1973, which was sponsored by businessman Jack Hayward, are rather hazy; memories of 35 years ago are difficult to recapture. But I can recall that the inaugural tournament created huge public awareness of the very existence of women's cricket. That was a great bonus because even though the first recorded writings about women's cricket were in 1745, the general public in the UK were still very ignorant about us.

I remember the final more than any other game of course - we won it! Princess Anne was the guest of honour and the match was covered in the television news and the highlights were presented by ITV's World of Sport programme. I was so nervous because of the media and royal attention that I took four overs to get off the mark. But I got a half-century and led England to the title. Princess Anne handed the trophy to us.

Another exciting moment was a reception at 10, Downing Street for all the teams. The then-prime minister, Edward Heath, hosted us in front of a big media contingent.

Former England player Megan Lear on the Downing Street reception:
A known keen sailor, Heyhoe-Flint produced much laughter when she presented Heath with a cricket bat signed by all the players and said he might find it useful as a paddle if there was no wind when he was sailing.

Interview by Nishi Narayanan