MCC told to ‘move with the times’ as row erupts over Rachael Heyhoe Flint memorial


Marylebone Cricket Club has responded to criticism from leading female cricketers, including Heather Knight, the current England captain, after a report in The Times claimed that a proposal to erect a permanent memorial to one of the sport’s most pioneering figures, Rachael Heyhoe Flint, had been met with resistance from sections of the club’s 18,500 male-dominated membership.

Baroness Heyhoe Flint, who died in 2017 at the age of 77, played 22 Tests for England between 1960 and 1979, at a time when the women’s game received scant attention or funding. She went on to become a leading administrator for the women’s game, and in 2014 was integral in securing England’s women their first tranche of ECB central contracts. In 2020, the ECB women’s regional competition was named in her honour.

However, her most significant contribution to the sport came in 1973, when she devised and established the first Cricket World Cup – a women’s event that preceded the first men’s tournament by two years. She went on to lift the trophy herself after England beat Australia in the final, which was held at Edgbaston because women at that stage were still not permitted to play at Lord’s.

Heyhoe Flint did eventually take part in the first women’s ODI at Lord’s, against Australia in 1976, and is commemorated by MCC with a portrait in the pavilion – a section of the ground from which she was barred until, in 1999, she became one of the first ten female members to be accepted into the club.