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Women's cricket stalwart Collins dies

Audrey Collins & Diana Rait Kerr

Audrey Collins, left, with Diana Rait Kerr, on the day in 1999 that they and eight other women were admitted to MCC

Audrey Collins OBE, one of the towering figures of women’s cricket in England, has died aged 94.

Collins was a famed player and administrator who championed the cause of the women’s game through the Women’s Cricket Association.

She was one of the first 10 female members admitted by the MCC, when it voted to allow women to enter the Long Room in 1999.

Born in India in 1915, Collins’ father was killed in the First World War, and her Australia-born mother decided to bring her three children to England in 1920.

Collins played in her first women’s cricket week aged 12, and went on to read Chemistry at the University of London.

She represented a number of women’s teams, most prominently Middlesex women and South women, before playing her one and only official Test against Australia in the 1937 Ashes.

In the drawn Test at The Oval, Collins scored 27 in the first innings batting at number eight. She put on 54 in half an hour with Betty Archdale, after the pair were told to “get on with the job!”

Collins moved to St Albans after the Second World War, played for the East and became secretary and later chairman of the WCA for six years.

Her term as WCA president, from 1983 to 1994, was the longest in the history of the organisation, which eventually merged with the ECB in 1998.

All Collins’ work for the WCA was on a voluntary basis, and as such, she is credited with steering the WCA through lean times, and helping to lay the foundations for the healthy interest in cricket amongst women today.

In later years, Collins was best known for her services to various chocolate firms in her unstinting efforts to raise funds in continued support of women's cricket.