England women’s legend Heyhoe-Flint dies

By ScoreLine Desk - January 19, 2017

London: English women’s cricketing great Rachael Heyhoe-Flint who captained them to victory in the 1973 World Cup has died aged 77, the MCC announced Wednesday.

Heyhoe Flint, who played for England in 22 Tests and 23 One Day Internationals from her debut in 1960 to her retirement in 1982, captained the side for a 12 year period from 1966-78.

Heyhoe-Flint, who scored three Test centuries most famously a marathon 8 1/2 hour series saving 179 at The Oval in 1976 against Australia, was a pathfinder in many ways for English women’s cricket.

She was the first woman to captain the team in a Test at Lord’s in the same 1976 series against the Australians and the first female to be elected onto the MCC’s full committee in 2004.

“MCC is deeply saddened to hear that Honorary Life Member, Rachael Heyhoe Flint has died aged 77,” tweeted MCC.

“…in a 20-year-career (she was) considered one of the finest women’s players ever.”

The MCC lowered the flag on the Lord’s clock to half mast as a mark of respect — Wolves football club and Wolverhampton Council offices also lowered their flags to half mast.

Clare Connor, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) director of women’s cricket and also a former national captain, sad Heyhoe-Flint was a female sporting icon.

“We talk of trailblazers, women in sport who have really broken boundaries — Rachael is up there with the very, very best of them,” she told Sky Sports News.

“She was my friend and mentor and inspiration — and I am not alone.

“Rachael was one of our sport’s true pioneers, and it is no exaggeration to say that she paved the way for the progress enjoyed by recent generations of female cricketers.

“We are all in her debt on this very sad day.”

ECB chairman Colin Graves said women playing cricket in the modern day owed a huge debt to Heyhoe-Flint.

“I sat with Rachael on the ECB board for five years and considered it a privilege,” he said in a statement.

“The development of women’s cricket to its current position, which really is unrecognisable from when Rachael was playing, is a lasting tribute to her.”

Heyhoe-Flint also became the first woman cricketer to be inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame in 2010 and such was her renown that back in 1973 she became the first female sports presenter on British television when ITV hired her.

She became a director of English football side Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1997 — she was instrumental in persuading Jack Hayward to buy the historic club in 1990.

In 2011 she became a member of the British Parliament’s Upper Chamber the House of Lord’s at the invitation of then Prime Minister David Cameron.

@AFP

By ScoreLine Desk

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