The England Women’s team capped off a fine year last night after being awarded the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year.
Beating off competition from the likes of the British and Irish Lions, England football’s U17 and U19 champions and Great Britain’s 4 x 100m relay team their success was announced by Everton manager Sam Allardyce and fellow blue, boxer Tony Bellew.
It’s the third such award the team have received in December, following the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year Awards and the Sports Journalists' Association British Sport Awards.
It’s the first time the team have won the award, although the men’s team were successful in 2005, 2009 and 2011.
The award was last won by a women’s team in 2014, when the England Women’s rugby union team were honoured.
It was a fitting end to a year that has felt like a watershed for the sport.
The sell-out crowd at Lord’s and the record-breaking Sky Sports viewing figures were evidence of an ever-growing popularity, not to mention the 160m people who watched the tournament around the world.
That popularity also saw vice-captain Anya Shrubsole nominated for the individual Sports Personality of the Year Award – the first women’s cricketer ever to be recognised with a nomination.
She finished ninth, with over 15,000 votes, polling as the highest female athlete on the shortlist.
As a little girl, I grew up watching #SPOTY with my Mum & Dad. They never had an answer for me when I asked why no women were nominated. Thankfully parents don’t have to fudge an answer to that question now. Well done @BBCSPOTY #VoteShrubsole for #SPOTY— Clare Connor (@ConnorCricket) 17 December 2017
On collecting the Team of the Year award off-spinner Danielle Hazell thanked the BBC and the nation for their support and spoke of how she hoped the win would inspire youngsters across the country to pick up a bat or ball and start playing the game.
Director of England Women’s cricket, Clare Connor, was delighted with the team’s success: “It’s so special to win an award like this because it speaks of recognition in the wider sporting world.
“Everyone involved in women’s cricket in England – and those who worked across the World Cup – has put in a lot of effort to raise the profile of our sport and we’re proud to be recognised at such a prestigious event.
“Those on the field have excelled this year and they deserve all their success.
“They have filled stadiums with the way they’ve played the game and we hope that young people look up to them and want to emulate them.”