June 11, 1939, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
January 18, 2017 (aged 77y 221d)
Also Known As
Right hand Bat
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint epitomised women's cricket in England for more than a generation, bringing it respectability and a higher profile that it had enjoyed before she played. After she retired she continued to promote the sport through he strong media presence and personality.
As a batsman, she was one of the best, capable of cavalier aggression or determined defence. She took over the England captaincy in 1966 and remained unbeaten in six series. Her crowning glory was leading England to victory in the 1973 World Cup, not least because she had been instrumental in getting the tournament off the ground - and two years before the men as well.
In 1976, aged 37, she batted for 521 minutes in making 179 against Australia at The Oval, and in doing so earned England a series draw. Thirteen years earlier she hit the first six in a women's Test, on the same ground against the same opposition. When she retired in she held the Test record for runs scored.
But her high profile put some noses in the establishment out of joint. In 1978 she was replaced as England captain, although she was recalled for the 1979 home series against West Indies and then, aged 43, for the 1982 World Cup. Although she had a brief spell as England's manager, she was again sidelined by the authorities. It would have galled them that almost 20 years later Heyhoe-Flint remains in many people's minds the most recognisable women's cricketer.
She was, fittingly, one of the first women admitted to the MCC, and in 2004 she became the first woman elected to the full committee. An accomplished after-dinner speaker, she also represented England at hockey, playing in goal, and was for many years a director of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Martin Williamson (May 2004)
Batting & Fielding