OPINION: BBC Team Award Ends 30 Years Of Hurt For England Women

The BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year award finally went to England’s women’s cricket team last night, following their 2017 World Cup win, atoning for nearly 30 years of hurt after they lost out in controversial circumstances in 1993 and again (though less contentiously) in 2009.

In 1993 England won the World Cup after beating New Zealand at Lords; but Team of the Year went to England’s men’s rugby union squad, who had won nothing (they came 4th in the 5-Nations) amid allegations of a stitch-up related to the award of broadcasting rights for subsequent 5-Nations tournaments.

In 2009, England women again lifted the World Cup, winning the final versus New Zealand in Sydney, and also captured the World T20 crown, beating New Zealand (again) at Lords; but this time they missed-out to the men’s cricket team, who admittedly had at least won something – a 2-1 home Ashes victory.

The award, which went to England’s women’s rugby team (also after a World Cup win) in 2014, shows perhaps that we are making progress; but the results of the individual (and most prestigious) Sports Personality of the Year award were a depressing snap back to reality – voted for by the public, Anya Shrubsole received just 15,000 votes (around 3% of the total); with the 4 nominated women all coming in the bottom 4 of votes cast.

13 thoughts on “OPINION: BBC Team Award Ends 30 Years Of Hurt For England Women

  1. Well done to the girls! Having been at Lords for that euphoric occasion, they deserved it. Let us hope for a good New Year for all sections of the ladies game.
    Getting new blood, namely British girls, into the KSL teams.
    Rewarding the young talent already in the County set up, and allowing them opportunities at higher levels, leading to National recognition.
    Look after, and nurture the County set up as a whole, making it a valuable, competitive league.
    Merry Xmas to all at CRICKETher, and all contributors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In 2009 under Mark Lanes management the England womens won the 50 over World Cup Final at The North Sydney Oval beating New Zealand in the Final(Not Australia as reported) in March and then won the World Cup T20 Final at Lords in June beating New Zealand in the Final by 6 wickets.In 2009 the Englan Womens Team also won The Ashes and beat Australia in the ODI Series 4-0 with game at Lords being rained off.This was truly a brillant Season and it was very very contentious that they did not win the BBC Team of the Year in 2009–Andrew Strauss looked pretty gobsmacked when the England Mens Team were announced the Winners.Lydia Greenway played in all these matches and also with Kent won the Womens County Champs being unbeaten all Season.With Hayes Hurricanes under the guidance of Coach Emily Drumm she also played in the team that won the National Club Final in 2009 beating Ransome and Marles in the Final.Kent Cricket Board put this record to the Guinness Book of Records as winning 2 World Cups,The Ashes,ODI Series 4-0,the Premier County Champs and National Club Championship in one season will not be surpassed by another female cricketer.

    Absolutely delighted that the England Womens Team won the BBC Team Award last night which was truly deserved,but it was a travesty of justice that the outstanding achievements of the 2009 England Womens Team were not recognised by the BBC,although it has to be said there was little TV coverage in those days.,although both World Cup Finals from the North Sydney Oval and Lords were shown live on TV.


  3. A few weeks ago Anya won the SJA President’s Award. What’s the SJA? The Sports Journalists’ Association. I would think that maybe this is the ultimate award. SPOTY is OK but here’s an award from people who, you hope at any rate, should have a greater sports’ knowledge than others who only turn up at the odd game (or sadly, in the case of women’s sport, don’t turn up at all). The SPOTY result with all the women at the foot of the table is simply a reflection, not of the women in the table, but of the public’s ignorance of sport – not women’s sport – just sport.


  4. One only has to read some of comments on the BBC sports website under more or less any report where a female team has done well to realise that society still contains a heck of a lot of people that believe women’s sport is inferior (presumably these same people feel disability sport is also inferior for the same reasons).
    Whilst the BBC have improved a lot over the last few years they, as a publicly funded broadcaster, are still some way from graphing what their public service actually should mean- not just in regard to male v female but also in regard to football verses more or less any other sport.
    The only defence I can think of for not giving male, female, disability sport equal coverage is the issue of quality. Quality is important (one cannot reasonably expect a broadcaster to cover dross) but, as we all know, there is a very strong correlation between money and quality. This is the vicious cycle; a market led sporting system where 99% of the money goes into a small number of male sports.
    How do most sports or any female sport stand much of a chance against, say, male football. The market led system has created an ‘emperors new clothes’ situation where literally millions of people actually believe it’s important, critical, vital even. They don’t seem to grasp that they are engaged in one of the biggest marketing cons of all time creating the total sick situation where footballers are paid many times more than surgeons. A salient point the next time you have a heart attack whilst abusing a referee from a football terrace only to be saved by a paramedic that is paid a pittance compared to one’s beloved footballers.


  5. I’d have thought the public just voted for who they recognise most to be honest. Hence Mo won the thing. I’d never even heard of the guy who got second though, so either that’s that theory out the window or I should pay more attention to motorsport (no thanks!).

    Anya did quite well actually, finishing top of the women’s nominees and only just below Harry Kane, who is without doubt much more “famous”.

    Comments strands often suffer from the same philosophical malaise, that cannot envisage anything beyond the current men’s sport as a pinnacle. An easy solution to this mental prison, I’ve found, is to just consider a (not so distant) future where cybernetically and genetically enhanced athletes are competing at levels far above where they are now, and how that in no way invalidates your appreciation of your favourite players and teams of this moment. Everyone is a product of their circumstances and they’re all trying their best. The rest falls into place.


  6. Fantastic for the woman’s game to finally be recognised at SPOTTY. Things are changing slowly but they are changing. For the 2009 team not to win the Team of the Year was an outrage but will hopefully never happen again.
    It’s been an incredible year for the game, and that day at Lords will never be forgotten. A full house at Lords, incredible viewing figures and a match to remember.
    It’s different times now and it’s always dangerous to compare back. The game is moving on and the gap between some of the countries is narrowing. Standards are naturally rising with greater investment and better coaching. Here in England we do have a lot of work still to do if we are going to keep at the top. The lack of support for county cricket and the lack of opportunity given to non international players in the KSL is going to hold us back until it’s addressed.


  7. I thought I’d posted a comment yesterday but it seems to have disappeared into the ether. Anyway…

    Richly deserved recognition for the Ladies. Theirs was, in my (our) admittedly biased opinion, the most significant performance of the summer, within the most significant tournament of the summer, across the whole spectrum of sport.

    It is easy to forget – actually, it isn’t – that they had to recover from a bit of a mauling in the first game, and held their nerve in two real thrillers against Australia and South Africa along the way, and then did so again when it all seemed to be slipping away.

    Sadly, we are not yet at the stage where some people will analyse it this deeply. For many commenters ‘BTL’ it’s a simple question of “A women’s cricket team can’t conceivably be more worthy than a men’s junior football team (England’s various age group squads) or a Scottish club (Celtic) that is good at bullying the likes of Hamilton Academicals but not so good against Bayern Munich and co. I say this not to denigrate those teams, because to do so would be to fall into the same trap in reverse. All are worthy, and all have achieved tremendous things, but the nature of awards is that there can only be one winner, and only one team on that shortlist transformed the landscape of their sport (or their gender’s part of it, at least).

    Incidentally, I’ve always felt a trick was missed back in 2009 in not simply giving the award to “England Cricket.” What a message of equal prominence (as opposed to equality) that might have sent in those less elevated times for the women’s game…

    I’m not as surprised or disappointed as some by Anya’s placing, or the fact that the four women were placed 9th-12th. In part, at least, I think this is a factor of the achievements of the male nominees – Farah, Hamilton, Joshua, Froome (recent developments not withstanding), Peaty and Rea (of whom I had not heard before the nominations were announced) might all have been deserved winners. The fact is that this is not a contest about achievement, it is about other things.

    It is about sentiment in some ways – a lot of the “armchair grannies” would have gone for Farah on the basis that he’s a lovely chap and has missed out in the past.

    It’s also about mobilising a vote – Rea’s second place was, I suspect, largely due to a combination of the parochial votes from petrolheads and proud Ulstermen.

    And before we criticise that, how many of us voted for Anya just because cricket, and women’s cricket specifically, is “our” sport? I know I did (twice!). Had I done a thorough analysis of each nominee’s merits I might have plumped for Peaty, who is so far ahead of his rivals as to be almost Bradman-esque.

    In that context, I reckon 15,000 votes – not far behind the token footballer, and twice as many as Christie and the much higher profile Konta – is not too shbby at all.

    Ultimately, the important thing with SPOTY is the recognition, and the fact that women’s cricket is being seen on that stage. It’s another tool in keeping the game in the public eye, particularly (dare I say) in light of the events in Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth.

    Far more to be happy about than unhappy, I believe.

    Merry Christmas, everybody!


  8. Following on from my previous comment, I thought I’d do a bit of digging to look for a comparison…

    Anya came 9th out of 12, with 15,237 votes (2.80%).

    The nearest comparison from men’s cricket would be 2010 when we won the World T20 in the Caribbean. That year Graeme Swann was one of 10, rather than 12 nominees. Coincidentally, he also came 9th with 13,767 votes (1.97%). It should be noted, however, that the winner that year, AP McCoy received 293k votes, compared with Mo Farah’s 83,500 (both approx), thereby skewing the percentages downwards for everyone else. McCoy’s tally would seem to be an “outlier” (I seem to recall a big campaign from the horseracing lobby), as the respective runners up got broadly similar votes – Rea 80,500, Phil Taylor 72,000.

    It’s also interesting that Swann, like Anya, was the only nominee from a team sport. Individuals have traditionally outperformed those from team sports down the years.

    Those figures suggest that Anya’s showing stood up well alongside Swann’s and is probably more a reflection of cricket’s general standing with the public.

    I’d also add this. Imagine England’s men had won their Champions Trophy – or even a World Cup – last summer and Liam Plunkett (say) had taken 6 wickets in the same scenario. How might he have fared on Sunday? Not much better, if at all, than Anya, in my view.


    • On the other hand, of course, Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff both won the award outright after dominating home Ashes series, which leads one to a few thoughts..

      1. To English cricket fans the Ashes > pretty much anything and everything else.

      2. The impact of terrestrial TV.

      3. That cricket, given the right circumstances (including 1 & 2 above) can grab the national attention as well as any sport.


  9. 1993 and the team award was a very odd one. I certainly remember it, and it seemed that the England rugby team’s win over world champions Australia just days before the result had massively swayed things. Anyway, suffice to say women’s cricket has moved on a lot since then. 2009, well that was still in the days when an England men’s Ashes win was practically a guarantee of the team award – the same used to apply every time Europe won the Ryder Cup. I will admit I felt a rush of happiness on Sunday when England Women were announced as team winners, but it highlighted one of the main problems with the SPOTY awards – exactly how do you separate players and teams from different sports, all of whom have reached the pinnacle of their sport? England women’s cricket were no more or less deserving than the World Cup winning under 17 and under 20 football teams. Likewise, was Farah any more or less deserving of the main award than world champions Rea, Hamilton, Joshua, Shrubsole ….? In my opinion, SPOTY is a throwback to the days when Britain was rubbish at sport and where one individual each year shone through the mediocrity. Older cricket fans might remember David Steele winning it in the 70s, after scoring four fifties, but no hundreds, for the Test team. Likewise several motor racing drivers have won it in years when they weren’t world champion. As an aside, was Shrubsole the leading candidate from women’s cricket? Remember it’s the personality of the year, not just of July 23rd. Surely Beaumont has had a more consistent year, and Knight of course is the captain? Would a different candidate from the team have finished a place or two higher in the vote?


    • Anya’s got a lovely personality and if it hadn’t been for her magical spell at Lords in July England would have lost the Final–so she definitely deserved to be the candidate from Womens Cricket.She also came in a hit a key 4 first ball against South Africa in the semis when the game was on a knife edge


      • I don’t really think “personality” comes into it. On paper TB and HK played at least as much of a part over the tournament. And I’d add Sarah Taylor and Nat Sciver too. But it was Anya whose face was all over the papers and whose name headlined the news. She was the one who forced her way into the consciousness of the wider public. It could have been anyone of the team, but on that day, in that match, it was Anya Shrubsole. She was the right choice to represent the team. I don’t think anyone else would have fared better.


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