MCC has today announced a newly named gate, the Heyhoe Flint Gate, at Lord’s Cricket Ground to honour the late Rachael Heyhoe Flint and her achievements in women’s cricket, both on and off the field.
The announcement coincides with the 45th anniversary of the first women’s One-Day International to be held at Lord’s, in which Heyhoe Flint led out England Women on to the Main Ground for the first time, to face Australia Women on 4 August 1976.
A pioneer of women’s cricket, Heyhoe Flint made her England debut in 1960 and scored her first Test century, against New Zealand, six years later in her first series as captain.
She was hugely instrumental in setting up the Women’s World Cup, captaining England to victory in the inaugural tournament in 1973. During her career she played in 22 Test matches and 23 One-Day Internationals, in which she averaged 45.54 and 58.45 respectively. Her performance on the field led to her induction into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2010.
Rachel Heyhoe Flint leading out England in the first Women's ODI match at Lord's in 1976 (Copyright: PA Images Alamy Stock Photo)
Heyhoe Flint was also a dedicated advocate for women’s inclusion in the game and she was pivotal in the campaign to allow women to become Members of MCC. With the support of Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie during his presidency of the Club, in September 1998 the Club accepted the first applications submitted by women.
The following year, Heyhoe Flint became one of the first female Members to be elected, alongside nine other women who were elected to Honorary Life Membership of MCC. In 2004 further history was made when she became the first woman to join the MCC Committee.
A portrait of Heyhoe Flint, unveiled in 2010, is displayed in the Pavilion at Lord’s, above the entrance to the renowned Long Room, acknowledging the positive impact she had, not only on the women’s game, but on women’s rights to watch and enjoy cricket. Since her death in January 2017, MCC has paid tribute to Heyhoe Flint, with her son, Ben, ringing the second innings bell at Lord’s for the Women’s World Cup Final in the summer of that year.
Baroness Heyhoe Flint’s opening up of the game will be aptly symbolised by public facing gates welcoming all to Lord’s, ensuring that her legacy continues to be appreciated by the thousands of cricket supporters who will pass through the new Heyhoe Flint Gate each year. It is planned that the new gates will be commissioned and later unveiled in summer 2022, replacing the current North Gate and featuring a permanent memorial to Heyhoe Flint.
Guy Lavender, Chief Executive & Secretary, said: “We wanted to recognise not only Rachael Heyhoe Flint’s playing career, but also her enduring impact on the game.
"Women’s access to play and watch cricket at Lord’s, and to participate in the game more widely, has come a long way and in commissioning new gates featuring a permanent memorial at Lord’s we are recognising Rachael Heyhoe Flint’s crucial role in this progression.”
"THIS is a perfect memorial to match my Mum’s beliefs as a champion of access and equality"
Ben Heyhoe Flint said: “When the vote was passed to allow women to become Members in 1998, I ran with Mum, giddy with delight, from the Lord’s Tavern to the Grace Gate for a barrage of interviews. It feels like there’s a lovely symmetry that she is now remembered with a gate of her own.
"This is the honour of all possible honours: a means of access - for everyone to be able to enter the Home of Cricket – is a perfect memorial to match Mum’s beliefs as a champion of access and equality. I’m just wondering if I’ll need to bow when I next go through it!”