Former England international Enid Bakewell was last night honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards.
The award “recognises a lifetime of sporting success”, and Bakewell, who averaged nearly 60 with the bat and took 75 wickets over her 14 years as an England all-rounder, is a worthy recipient.
Born Enid Turton in Newstead, Nottinghamshire in 1940, she first played cricket aged 9 in a field in the village with some of the local boys. Several years later, while attending the local grammar school – where they were not permitted to play cricket – a teacher recommended that she join a nearby club in Nottingham, advice she duly accepted.
She went on to study at Dartford College of Physical Education (now part of the University of Greenwich), which was a hotbed of women’s cricket, producing many future stars of the game including Rachael Heyhoe-Flint. This enabled Bakewell to continue with her sport of choice, and she toured Holland with a Young England side in 1959 while still at Dartford.
Her full England debut came in December 1968 at Adelaide on England’s tour of Australia and New Zealand. She hit 113 in that match, and went on to score over 1000 runs and take more than 100 wickets on the tour – the first woman to ever achieve the feat. It earned her a full page feature in the 1970 edition of Wisden – the first time ever that a woman had been awarded such exposure.
It was a remarkable achievement partly because by this time Bakewell was married and the mother of a two-year-old daughter. In order to tour, she had to leave her daughter behind in the care of her husband and parents, at a time when it was exceptionally difficult to combine motherhood and playing international-level sport.
She went on to represent England in the first ever Cricket World Cup in 1973, and played a large part in their victory against Australia in the final at Edgbaston, hitting a century and taking 2-28 as England triumphed by 92 runs.
Six years later, in her last Test against West Indies, she became the first England player, male or female, to score a century and take ten wickets in the same match. By this time she was a mother of three young children, but she continued to play international cricket until the 1982 World Cup in New Zealand.
After retiring from international cricket, she remained involved with the Nottinghamshire and England set-ups, eventually going on to coach a Junior England team which included future stars Arran Brindle (then Thompson) and Charlotte Edwards.
Now aged 74, she can still be found shouting encouragement from the boundary at most England matches, both at home and abroad. Even more remarkably – as CRICKETher reported earlier this year – she is still playing regularly, both for her club Redoubtables and for MCC.
She was named one of Wisden‘s 5 greatest ever female cricketers in 2014, and this latest honour is undoubtedly thoroughly deserved. Congratulations Enid!