Women's cricket had been played since the turn of the 20th century in Australia. The Victoria Women's Cricket Association was founded in 1905 and the Australian Women's Cricket Association was founded in 1931.
England played their first game against The Rest at Leicester in 1933. The first international tour, to Australia, took place a year later when England won two tests and drew one. The England team went on to New Zealand where Betty Snowball scored 189 for England in the first ever Test between the two countries held in Christchurch in 1935, England won the match. Australia visited the UK in 1937 playing three tests the honours were shared with one win each and a draw at the Oval.
In 1958 the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) was founded to organise the increasing amount of cricket, especially in Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa, the West Indies, Denmark, and Holland.
In England during the 1960s the structure of the WCA was altered, the 5 original territorial administrations being replaced by 13 Playing Areas. In order to qualify for development grants a Five-Year Plan was designed. The first two women to be awarded the MCC Advanced Coaching Certificate were Mary Duggan, England Captain 1967 - 1973, and Ruth Westbrook
In 1960 South Africa played England at home in a test series for the first time, England winning the only match not to be a draw. The 1970's saw both the West Indies and India playing their first international matches.
Cricket World Cup
1973 also saw the first ever Cricket World Cup which was sponsored by Sir Jack Hayward, at the prompting of the England captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint. England beat Australia in the final by 92 runs and Heyhoe-Flint went on to become a household name. In 1976 history was made when the first-ever women's Test was held at Lord's Cricket ground - fittingly between England and Australia.
New Zealand hosted the third Women's Cricket World Cup in January and February 1982. Australia won, beating England by 3 wickets. This followed six weeks of round robin competition between five teams (England, Australia, New Zealand, India and an International XI) playing each other 3 times. Each of the 14 English players plus their manager, assistant manager and physiotherapist had to contribute £250 towards their own traveling costs. Dickie Bird umpired the Women's World Cup and was 'most impressed by the overall standard'.
In 1993 the World Cup was contested by England, Australia, New Zealand, India, the West Indies, Ireland, Holland, and Denmark. England won their second world title, when they beat New Zealand at Lord's with Jan Brittin taking the winning catch off Suzie Kitson's bowling.
The third Test between England and New Zealand held at Guildford in 1996, was the 100th women's Test match worldwide.
Today international cricket is played by eleven countries, with seven playing 'Test' matches of more than one day. Originally these were three day matches, but since 1985 most of these 'test' matches have been played over four days.
Developments in England
On the domestic front, 1988 saw the creation of a new National League for English clubs, the first official County Championships, the introduction of a territorial championship and the appointment of a new England captain.
In 1988 Jane Powell became only the ninth captain of England in 54 years of women's test cricket. Jane Powell, held the post from 1988-1991. She was appointed the England Cricket Development of Excellence Head Coach in 1999.
In 1988 the County Championships were played for the first time over five days on various university grounds at Cambridge. Ten Counties took part, Yorkshire won Pool A, Surrey won Pool B with Yorkshire winning a close final between the two by just 2 runs.
Twenty four teams contested the first ever National League title zoned into four regions. Wolverhampton won the National Clubs Knock-Out for the first time in the 15 years of the competition.
In 1989 England joined Holland, Ireland and Denmark - who had been contesting a triangular tournament since 1983 - in competing for the first official European Women's Championships held at Nykobing Mors in North Jutland. The fifth European Women's Championship took place during July 1999. England maintaining the proud record of never having lost a European Cup match. They finally lost this record in 2001 when they were beaten by Ireland.
On March the 29th, 1998 the Women's Cricket Association voted at an Extraordinary General Meeting to merge with the ECB, thus becoming part of a single governing body which controls Cricket in the UK. The agreement itself was signed at a meeting of the WCA Executive Committee on June the 25th 1998.
Women's Cricket in the UK is now administered within the structures of the ECB. The ECB National Manager of Women's Cricket is Gill McConway and the two main committees which drive the issues that affect women's cricket are:
The 'Women's Cricket Advisory Group' (WCAG) which directs Women's domestic cricket and The 'Women's Cricket International Group' (WCIG) which controls the England National and Developmental sides.
Beyond the ECB the 'International Women's Cricket Council' (IWCC) coordinates Women's International Cricket worldwide