Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Baroness Heyhoe-Flint
In the House of Lords in 2015
|Full name||Rachael Heyhoe Flint|
|Born||11 June 1939|
|Died||18 January 2017(aged 77)|
|Bowling||Right-arm leg spin|
|Test debut (cap 51)||2 December 1960 v South Africa|
|Last Test||1 July 1979 v West Indies|
|ODI debut (cap 4)||23 June 1973 v International XI|
|Last ODI||7 February 1982 v Australia|
|Domestic team information|
|1980–1982||West Midlands Women|
Source: Cricinfo, 25 July 2020
Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Baroness Heyhoe Flint, née Heyhoe; 11 June 1939 – 18 January 2017) was an English cricketer, businesswoman and philanthropist. She was best known for being captain of England from 1966 to 1978, and was unbeaten in six Test series: in total, she played for the English women's cricket team from 1960 to 1982. Heyhoe Flint was captain when her team won the inaugural 1973 Women's Cricket World Cup, which England hosted. She was also the first female cricketer to hit a six in a Test match, and one of the first ten women to become a member of the MCC.(
Rachael Heyhoe was born in Wolverhampton. Her parents Roma Crocker and Geoffrey Heyhoe were teachers of physical education who met at a college in Denmark. They both taught in Wolverhampton.
Heyhoe Flint was chiefly a right-handed batsman, and occasional leg spin bowler. She played in 22 Women's Test cricket matches from 1960 to 1979, with a batting average of 45.54 in 38 innings. She took 3 Test wickets and scored three Test centuries, including her highest score of 179 not out, a world record when she scored it in 1976 also against Australia at the Oval, earning a draw to save the series by batting for more than 8½ hours. She also played in 23 Women's One Day Internationals, with a batting average of 58.45 and a top score of 114. She was captain of the England women's cricket team for 12 years, 1966 to 1978; while the captain, she never lost a match.
She hit the first six in a women's Test match in 1963, at the Oval against Australia. She was instrumental in the effort to hold the first Women's World Cup, securing funding from her friend Jack Hayward. She captained the England team in the tournament, and scored a half-century in the final, which England won against Australia at Edgbaston on 28 July 1973. The women led the men: first men's Cricket World Cup was not held for another two years.
In 1970 she was one of those who set up a fund to pay for police protection for the planned South African tour. and she was one of the many who argued that sport and politics should be kept separate. Unequivocally in her 1978 autobiography she said “Who are we... to tell the South Africans how to run their country?” It was, she said, “... their country, and hardly the place of any English people to criticise”. This was also the position of the British Women's Cricket Association in which she played a leading part.
She was captain of the first England women's team to play at Lord's in the 1976 Women's Ashes series. After being replaced as England captain in 1978, she played her last Test match in the 1979 series against West Indies, but went on to play in the 1982 Women's Cricket World Cup.
She served on the board of directors of Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1997 to 2003 and was then a vice-president.
She was a teacher of physical education from 1960 to 1964, at Wolverhampton Grammar School and then Northicote School also in Wolverhampton. She then became a journalist with the Wolverhampton Chronicle. She was a sports writer on a freelance basis for the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. She also worked as a broadcaster, and in 1973 she was appointed TV's first woman sports presenter with ITV's World of Sport. After retiring from cricket, she continued to work as a journalist and broadcaster and also became an award-winning after-dinner speaker, businesswoman and board director.
In 1973, she was selected by the Guild of Professional Toastmasters as the Best After Dinner Speaker.
She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1972, and was one of the first ten women admitted to the MCC in 1999, as an honorary life member. In 2004, she was the first woman elected to the full committee of the MCC and latterly became a Trustee. She was made a director of Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. in 1997, later becoming an ex officio Vice-President.
She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, and in October 2010 was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, the first woman to achieve this accolade.
On 19 November 2010, it was announced that she was to be ennobled to sit in the House of Lords as a Conservative Party peer. "I was completely taken by surprise when I took the call from the Prime Minister in September," Heyhoe Flint said. "Obviously I am really thrilled at my appointment but still very humbled at the thought of joining such a historic institution ... My background in sport, journalism, charity and community work will I hope stand me in good stead, and I hope I can make a positive contribution as a working peer. I will certainly look forward to the commute from one Lord's to another Lords." She was subsequently invested as a life peer on 21 January 2011 taking the title Baroness Heyhoe Flint, of Wolverhampton in the County of West Midlands. The formal designation of her title without a hyphen broke a rule that peerage titles could only have one word, previously observed by the likes of Lord Lloyd-George, Lord Alanbrooke and Lord Lloyd-Webber.
On 1 November 1971, Rachael Heyhoe married Derrick Flint (1924-2018). Her husband had a first-class cricket career comprising 10 matches for Warwickshire CCC in 1948–1949 playing as a leg-spin and googly bowler. She adopted a double-barrelled surname, becoming Rachael Heyhoe Flint (erroneously hyphenated in many sources as "Heyhoe-Flint").
Their son Ben (born 1974) also played cricket.He emigrated to Singapore in 2001 where he runs businesses related to sports and entertainment. She was also stepmother to Derrick Flint's children: Simon, Hazel and Rowan Flint.
She was remembered during the in memoriam at the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
In memory of Heyhoe Flint, in 2017 the International Cricket Council named their ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year accolade, the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award. In 2020, the women's domestic 50-over competition was named the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
With Netta Rheinberg, she co-authored a history of women's cricket: Fair Play: The Story of Women's Cricket, Angus & Robertson, 1976, (ISBN 978-0-207-95698-0). She also wrote an instructional guide to field hockey called, Rachael Heyhoe Flint: Field Hockey with Barron's Sports Books (ISBN 978-0-8120-5158-2) in 1978. She authored her autobiography Heyhoe (ISBN 978-0-7207-1049-6) in 1978, published by Pelham Books with a foreword from comedian and cricket-lover Eric Morecambe.
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