Kathleen Mary Smith
October 16, 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
July 20, 1993, Greenslopes, Brisbane, Queensland, (aged 77y 277d)
Right hand bat
Left arm fast medium
A member of the Australian team for the first Test match to be played by Women, Kath Smith was appointed to the position of vice-captain for this match and for the two subsequent Test matches played in Sydney and Melbourne. She was also the Australian vice captain for the tour to England in 1937, again appearing in the three Test matches played.
Kath Smith first represented Queensland at the age of 14 in a game against Victoria. She subsequently became a regular member of the Queensland team and by the time of the visit of the England team of 1934 she was undoubtedly the leading all-round player in Australia. In the first Test match, played at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground on 28, 29 and 31 December 1934 she was the only Australian to reach double figures in the first innings, scoring 25 of the total of 47. She came to the crease at the fall of the third wicket with the total on nine and was seventh out at 47. The Australian innings lasted three hours and was played in front of approximately three thousand spectators. In the second innings she scored 12 in fifty minutes as Australia managed a total of 138. In the England first innings she was the second bowler to appear and captured one wicket for 32 from 13 overs. England won the match by nine wickets.
A week later she again top scored for Australia in the second Test match played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. She scored 47 out of the 55 added while she was at the crease, fellow Queenslander Joyce Brewer recording the second highest score with 34, the pair adding 44 for the fourth wicket. In the England innings she again took second use of the ball and captured the wickets of Betty Snowball, Myrtle Maclagan and Molly Hide at a cost of 42 runs. She did little in the third Test match played in Melbourne and finished the series with 98 runs in six innings, captured seven wickets for 175, and held one catch.
On the tour of England she again achieved considerable success and began the Test series with a top score of 88 in the first Test match played at Northampton. In the England innings she captured four wickets for 50 to play a considerable part in an Australian victory by 31 runs. In the second Test match played at Blackpool she was run out for 63 made out of the 77 added while she was at the wicket, but failed to score in the second innings as England won by 25 runs. In the third Test match played at the Kennington Oval she had a second innings of 45 but failed to capture a wicket. Her six Test innings for the series brought her 214 runs while she captured six wickets at a cost of 235 runs. Appendicitis restricted her activities towards the end of the tour and also in the early part of the next season in Brisbane.
She represented Queensland until the outbreak of war brought an end to the interstate matches. In 1946 she moved to Melbourne and represented Victoria but could not regain a place in the Australian team. In 1951 she returned to Brisbane by which time her playing days had ended.
Her club cricket was initially with Overells and later with Bluebells. In the 1939/40 season she played an innings of over 200 in a club match, at the time the highest score recorded in women's cricket in Queensland. She learnt to play cricket taking part in street games with her brothers and other boys living near her home in Fortitude Valley.
The youngest of a family of seven children she was educated at St Patrick's School in Fortitude Valley, and at St Joan of Arc School at Herston. She worked with Dalgetys before the war, on the outbreak of which she joined the WAAF. In Melbourne she worked in Treadways department store. On returning to Brisbane she performed some casual work as well as taking care of aged relatives.
As well as playing cricket Kath was a more than useful hockey player and was to become a quite competent golfer. She was very much interested in sport generally and was a well known follower of the Brisbane Broncos rugby league team. For many years she took a keen interest in the sporting activities of St Joseph's Christian Brothers College, Gregory Terrace, assisting with the coaching of the boys. She was awarded membership of Terrace Old Boys Association, the first woman so honoured.
A kindly person she was always a very popular player with her fellow team members as well as with the public, something that remained with her throughout her life time. She was well aware of the laws and rules of cricket and played by them. Rather than take advantage of a player not so well versed as herself she was known to give warning to an opponent who seemed about to transgress. Unfortunately she was to suffer ill health for many of her later years but she was never one to complain.
Kathleen Mary Smith was born in Brisbane on 16 October 1915. She died at the Repatriation General Hospital, Greenslopes on 20 July 1993. She was a forceful right hand bat and a well disciplined left arm fast medium bowler who produced some quite remarkable figures in club cricket.
(Profile by Warwick Torrens)
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