Competitive Women's Cricket
Historically, men’s competitions in football, hockey, and cricket are more popular than women’s. However, this is not an excuse not to analyze the history of women’s cricket. Women’s tournaments are just as interesting and exciting. One has only to look at a selection of the best episodes. In this article, we briefly recap all the highlights of the world women’s cricket.
Competitive Women’s Cricket – History
Cricket is a versatile team sport. Both men and women can play it. The Reading Mercury reported the first recorded women’s match on July 26, 1745:
“On July 26, 1745, the greatest cricket match between the 11 Bramley Handmaids and the 11 Hambledon Handmaids took place near Guildford. The women from Bramley had blue ribbons on their heads, while the women from Hambledon had red ones. They ran and caught as well as men do. The Hambledon handmaidens won the match with a score of 127: 119”
The first known women’s cricket club was founded in 1887 in Yorkshire under the name White Heather Club. The French-American businessman Mr. E. Michael formed the Original English Lady Cricketers in 1889. The team consisted of 30 people. This women’s club became the first to tour the UK during the period 1890-1892 with exhibition matches. During this time, about 60 games were played throughout the country, and each game was not left without attention (an average of 2000 spectators came to one game). Unfortunately, the team manager stole all the funds that the girls earned from the exhibition matches.
As for other countries, in Australia, the 1st women’s cricket league appeared in 1894; in South Africa, at almost the same time in the city of Port Elizabeth, a women’s team was formed – the Pioneers Cricket Club.
Competitive Women’s Cricket – International Games
Women’s cricket became more and more popular every year. The game was distributed in many countries. Because of this, to coordinate and generalize all women’s cricket, in February 1958, the International Women’s Cricket Council was formed between the sports associations of 5 leading countries:
- New Zealand;
- South Africa;
- The Netherlands.
The IWCC lasted 47 years until it merged with the International Cricket Council in 2005. It was done to form a single cricket organization for its management and development.
The debut test match among women took place in December 1934. The national teams England and Australia played in the Australian city of Brisbane. England won that match by nine wickets. Women from New Zealand joined them next year. So, at different times, the participating countries became more and more (there are 10 of them). Unfortunately, there are very few women’s test matches (about 141 games in 2020). In 2021, ICC granted Test and ODI status to all full-fledged women’s teams. The official ICC website has a schedule for future test matches.
Since 1973, women have been competing in the One Day International tournaments (by the way, this format has become more popular than the test or first-class format). The ODI Women’s World Championship also started in 1973. In 48 years, it was held 11 times. In total, the international tournament was won by three teams:
- England – 4 times, the last in 2017;
- Australia – 6 times, most recently in 2013;
- New Zealand – once in 2000.
The next draw will take place in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in 2022.
Since 2004, women have competed in Twenty20 International tournaments. The popularity of this status is growing every season. In 2009 the 1st T20 World Championship was played. Currently, seven international draws have been held:
- England won the championship in 2009;
- Australia became the champion five times (the last in 2020);
- The West Indies won 1 victory in 2016.
The next T20I World Championship is scheduled for 2023.
How do women compete within one country? For example, a new Women’s Big Bash League was created in Australia in 2015 (8 teams participate, T20 status). The Women’s Cricket Super League (6 teams, T20 status) has been held in England and Wales since 2016. The women’s domestic tournament also appeared in India in 2018. Three teams are participating in the Women’s T20 Challenge.
By the way, England and Wales Cricket Board announced in 2018 the creation of a new tournament, The Hundred. Due to COVID-19, the date of the competition was constantly changing. On the official website of The Hundred, it is indicated that the debut draw will take place in 2021, from July 21 to August 21.