Originally published as: On The Shoulders of Giants: Australia’s Quest for Seventh ODI World Cup
From Margaret Peden to Meg Lanning, we are blessed with Australian women who have made such a positive impact on the game of cricket.” – Belinda Clark AO
Over the last two years in particular, the Australian team has rightly been thrust into the spotlight. A champion, record-breaking side, names like Lanning, Perry, Mooney and Healy are superstars in their own right. They have now secured Australia’s seventh ODI World Cup, undefeated through a record-breaking campaign in New Zealand.
Part of a strong lineage of women in Australian cricket, Lanning’s team do not thrive in isolation, instead, they stand firmly on the shoulders of giants. Inspired by the passionate, resilient and fearless women who have come before, they are able to thrive on the world stage; inspiring girls and boys across the country.
So, with thanks to quotes, insights and photos from Clearing Boundaries, we are proud to reflect on some of the success and struggle that has helped pave the way for the current Australian team.
1973: On The World Stage
“Thanks to Rachel Heyhoe Flint’s effort, an exciting new era was heralded by the women’s World Cup – which came into existence two years before the men had a similar event.” – Clearing Boundaries
The women’s game was shifting gear in the 1970’s, its proliferation coinciding with the growth of the feminist movement. In 1973, it was set to go to the world stage, when cricket’s first World Cup was held in England.
The final standings and scores from the ‘Final Match’ between England and Australia. (Clearing Boundaries P. 60)
Two years in the making, the tournament was the brain-child of England captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint and benefactor, Sir Jack Hayward, who were keen to see teams from around the world come together and play a World Cup.
Played across England, the seven-team competition was contested in a round-robin format, with the champions to be decided by the points table instead of a scheduled final. The first official One Day Internationals for women, it was a truly ground-breaking month for players, supporters and the sport more broadly.
England and Australia – predicted to be the strongest teams in the tournament – were scheduled to play the final match in place of a dedicated final. Held at the historic Edgbaston Cricket Ground, it was not a particularly close affair, England emerging as victors and consequently as champions of the inaugural World Cup.
Though they were not victorious, the tournament marked a pivotal moment for Australia, too. Fast bowler Tina Macpherson (5/14) claimed the first ‘five-for’ in Women’s ODI’s in the first match, and the enterprising, entertaining cricket had ensured that the World Cup would become a regular feature in the international fixture.
1976: Breaking Old Ground
Following the watershed World Cup, the liberation and expansion of women’s cricket continued, as England’s Women’s Cricket Association campaigned fervently to play a women’s match at Lord’s.
For more than 160 years, women had been excluded from the Marylebone Cricket Club. The Queen the only woman permitted in the pavilion, no women’s match had ever been played on the hallowed turf. That changed in 1976 when England and Australia played the second ODI of the tour at Lord’s.
England women waiting to bat on the balcony. The players were the only women in the pavilion; membership to the MCC was only granted to females in 1999. (Clearing Boundaries)
Sharon Tredrea (54) reached the first milestone in the historic match, but it wouldn’t be enough for Australia, as England chased down a modest target of 161 with eight wickets to spare.
1978: Crowning Glory
Just over four years since the inaugural World Cup, the tournament travelled to India in 1978. Initially in jeopardy, the late withdrawals of the Netherlands and the West Indies threatened the viability of the second iteration, but Australia, England, New Zealand and hosts India were determined to play on.