MACLAGAN, MYRTLE ETHEL, MBE, who died at Farnham on March 11, 1993, aged 81, was one of the best-known women cricketers of her day. She was in the cricket team at the Royal School, Bath, for six years and, having been coached by Tich Freeman, took five wickets in five balls with her off-breaks against Cheltenham Ladies College. She became a national personality after being chosen for the pioneering tour of Australia in 1934-35. In the first Test at Brisbane she made 72 and took seven for ten; in the second game at Sydney she made 119, the first hundred in a women's Test. England's men had just lost the Ashes but soon Maclagan's opening partnership with Betty Snowball was being compared to Hobbs and Sutcliffe, and the Morning Post published the following quatrain:
What matter that we lost, mere nervy men
Since England's women now play England's game,
Wherefore Immortal Wisden, take your pen
And write MACLAGAN on the scroll of fame.
MacLagan made another century against Australia in 1937, toured again in 1948-49 and captained England in two Tests at home in 1951. She was an officer in the ATS during the war and rejoined the Army in 1951, becoming Inspector, PT for the WRAC. Her last major match was against the Australian touring team for the Combined Services in, 1963, when she scored 81 not out. She was 52.
In 1966 she was appointed MBE. At various times in her life she won prizes for squash, tennis, badminton and knitting. It was reported that so many people turned up for her 80th birthday she had to make a speech from the top of a step-ladder and got attention by a blast on her whistle.