MCC announce gate at Lord's in honour of Rachael Heyhoe Flint

Marylebone Cricket Club have announced that a gate at Lord's Cricket Ground will be named in honour of Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint.

Rachael Heyhoe Flint ringing the five-minute bell at Lord's in 2010 (Photo: Sarah Williams)
Rachael Heyhoe Flint ringing the five-minute bell at Lord's in 2010 (Photo: Sarah Williams)

The new gates, replacing the current North Gate, will be commissioned and unveiled in summer 2022, featuring a permanent memorial of Heyhoe Flint, who sadly passed away in 2017.

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.

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.

Chief Executive & Secretary of MCC, Guy Lavender, 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.”

Heyhoe Flint was affectionately known as ‘Our Rachael’ in her home city of Wolverhampton, she was also vice-president at Wolves, having previously served as the club's director from 1997 to 2003 after sparking a friendship with former owner Sir Jack Hayward.

A proud Wulfrunian, Baroness Heyhoe Flint was granted the Freedom of Wolverhampton in 2011 and such was the impact of her death, aged 77, Wolves players and England cricket players wore black armbands in her memory.

Rachael Heyhoe Flint’s son, Ben Flint, said: "When the vote was passed to allow women to become Members in 1998, I ran with Mum, giddy with delight, out of 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!”

The announcement marks the 45th anniversary of the first women’s One-Day International at Lord’s, in which Heyhoe Flint led out England Women for the first ever time on the Main Ground.

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