Bakewell has fond memories of '73
35 years on from England’s inaugural triumph at the Women’s World Cup, England legend Enid Bakewell looks back on her side’s win over Australia at Edgbaston in 1973
With the countdown to next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup drawing ever nearer, July 28 is a special day in the history of the women’s game as it is the anniversary of England’s triumph over Australia to win the inaugural competition back in 1973.
Star of the day at Edgbaston, in England’s 92-run victory, was Enid Bakewell, one of the legends of the women’s game, who scored a magnificent 118.
And she has fond memories of that day, particularly as the trophy was presented by Princess Anne, who had been persuaded by Rachel Heyhoe-Flint, the England skipper, to come to the game.
"Princess Anne came to present the Award. We used to go down to the Daily Express Sports Award each year, so Rachel (Heyhoe-Flint) had met her then and asked her to come," said Bakewell.
"She was sat with the Young England team, and she was about the same age as them at the time, and they asked whether she played cricket.
"She said she used to play cricket with her Daddy in the back garden, as if she lived just at some council house.
"She also admitted that she had got somebody got to explain the LBW rule to her but never did understand it."
Bakewell, who still plays club cricket and bowls at a weekend, even at the age of 67, credits Heyhoe-Flint with starting the competition.
"It was Rachel’s idea. She went to see Jack Hayward, a businessman in Wolverhampton, who was involved with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
"She went to see him for lunch and expected him to being eating caviar, but he was having bread and cheese. She somehow talked him into giving the money to run the event."
While she speaks fondly of the matches, particularly England’s recovery after a defeat to New Zealand after failing to keep up to the run-rate in a rain effected match (which she says she used 20 years later to inspire England’s World Cup winning side of 1993 after they had also lost a group game to the Kiwis), she also admits it was a difficult event to be part of which even saw her experience an encounter with the police!
"It was quite stressful. I had a young family at the time and I had to get to all the matches in an old banger and I thought I might break down.
"I hadn’t realised that during the event someone has stolen my motor tax disc. I was on the way to a match and the police stopped me and said I was I missing a tax disc and that I would have to hand my papers in within three days.
"I said that was not possible as I was on my way to play a World Cup game for England and I wasn’t going to be home for a week.
"Luckily I had my England blazer in the back so I could prove that I was telling the truth."
Unlike some of today’s modern players, who benefit from ECB support and employment with the Chance to shine programme, Bakewell and her team-mates had to pay their own way on trips.
She even recalls having to raise money for the 1968/69 tour to Australia, which lasted four and a half months, where she had to raise 603 pounds by selling potatoes from the garden.
And she admits that although she is proud of her achievements at the event, the biggest challenge was a financial one.
"I’m proud of the fact that I scored a hundred against Australia," said Bakewell. "But with three young children, at midnight during the event the only statistic I was worried about was how we were getting to get by on 20 pounds a week.
"But I thought if my husband can have his beer and cigarette money, then I can spend my money on cricket."