Former New South Wales women's cricketer, Lorna Thomas, has died at the age of 96. Thomas was also an Australia women's team manager between 1963 and 1978 and was awarded an MBE for services to cricket and Life Membership of Women's Cricket Australia.
"Due to her strong role as team manager through the 1960s, Thomas, who was affectionately known by the players as Aunty Lorna, was regarded as a pioneer of women's cricket and led the national team through a period of significant societal change which paved the way for today's elite players," Cricket Australia said in a release. "She became team manager in 1960 and guided five Australian teams, including the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1973."
CA chief executive James Sutherland said: "Lorna was a great contributor to cricket in Australia as a player and administrator. She holds a significant place in the history of women's cricket and was well respected on and off the field. Through her various roles within cricket Lorna worked tirelessly to increase the profile of the sport and her legacy is evident not only in the professionalism of women's cricket in Australia today but also in the number of girls and women playing cricket."
Australian women allrounder Alex Blackwell said Thomas was a "wonderful supporter" of the current players. "We were delighted to see her at our WNCL Final back in 2012 when all of the past and current players were presented with Baggy Blue caps, and I was very fortunate to chat with her at a recent Test match," Blackwell said. "I learned a lot from her about women's cricket while she was playing and managing teams, and it really showed me how fortunate the modern day players are."