Captain Connor receives OBE
England’s women completed a New Year Honours list dominated by cricket with captain Clare Connor receiving an OBE in recognition of their own Ashes success.
The 29-year-old all-rounder led her side to their first Ashes series victory for 42 years after they drew the opening Test at Hove last summer before clinching a six-wicket victory at Worcester to seal the series.
That surprise triumph, which was Australia’s first Test defeat in 21 years, completed a rare Ashes double and both teams enjoyed open top bus parades around London to celebrate the achievement.
Connor, who was given an MBE in June last year for her contribution to women’s cricket, also led England to the World Cup semi-finals in South Africa earlier in the year.
She became the first woman ever to appear in the Cricketer Cup three years ago when she represented Old Brightonians against Lancing Rovers.
One of only five players to take a hat-trick in a one-day international, which she achieved against India at Northampton in 1999.
Connor, who teaches English and PE at Brighton College, said to ecb.co.uk: “I am overwhelmed to receive an OBE but I very much take the award on behalf of the team - who performed magnificently to bring home the Ashes.
“I have known (about the award) for about six weeks after a very official looking envelope dropped through the letterbox and the whole family is very proud and my mum will have to buy a new hat!
“I was thrilled to get an MBE in 2004 and now to add an OBE is fantastic.”
Connor missed the recent disappointing India tour with combined ankle and elbow problems and the injuries have not responded to treatment as she would have liked.
She continued: “My injuries are not fixed yet and it has been very frustrating - especially as I missed the India tour when we were not helped by players suffering injury and illness. My own injury may require surgery - but hopefully not.”
Although frustrated by fitness problems Connor is looking forward to getting back on the pitch and taking on the challenge of the touring Indians in 2006, and she concluded: “It will be great to face the Indians at home and try to redress the balance – especially as we will play them at Lord’s – the first time we have played there since 2001 against the Australians.”