Women's cricket - 1923 style

One of the most successful transformations seen at Grange Loan in the 21st Century has been the introduction of the Carlton women’s side. The girls’ and women’s section has proved a positive influence throughout the club, both on and off the field, but a scan through the club archives suggests that women’s cricket at Grange Loan is nothing new. Here’s an extract from a report of an unusual match from 1923. We’d like to think that not all of the writer’s observations on women would make it past the Carlton website editor today!

Ladies’ Match

A midweek game of a rather unusual kind was played at Grange Loan on the afternoon of 2nd July when we engaged in an encounter with the young ladies of Craigmount School, who practise cricket on our ground during the summer. Everyone knows that members of the fair sex are taking up nowadays, with marked success, various spheres of endeavour which were formerly considered masculine preserves and, judging by this game, the ladies will very soon have to be taken seriously on the cricket field.

Ladies’ cricket matches! The thought opens up a wide field for speculation and suggests infinite possibilities of this “brighter cricket” about which so much nonsense is talked nowadays. Dwell on the idea for a moment. Imagine Lords or the Oval, as the scene of a match between the ladies of England and Australia or France! Picture the different charming costumes worn by the fair exponents and the discussion in the pavilion on the colour-scheme of the latest fashionable attire from Paris. And would this absorbing discussion cease during the course of the match? Or would “talked out” become one of the methods of dismissing opponents?

What of the umpires too? Could any man be trusted to steel his heart and give impartial decisions? A winsome smile or an appealing look would bring about more bad lbw decisions than the most frenzied “How’s That?” of today! One can easily picture these, and many other, fascinating scenes, but the imagination reels before the thought of what our present-day bugbear, the Tea Interval, would become under the new conditions!

However, these pictures have nothing to do with the Craigmount School ladies, so let us leave the alluring realms of fancy and return to Grange Loan and cricket. This afternoon match proved most interesting and successful in every way, and not the least enjoyable part of the programme was the tea kindly provided by Mrs Kyd for the players and spectators.

The cricketing ability shown by our opponents was very promising indeed and the school coach may well feel gratified at the successful results already achieved. The batsmen (or should it be batswomen?) punished our left-handed attack in light-hearted manner, and several of them made runs all round the wicket in very good style.

Miss Boath, Miss Panton, Miss Marsden and Miss Ingles all batted well - some of their strokes being really first-class - and altogether the whole side gave a most promising display. The bowling, too, was wonderfully accurate for ladies, and the work of the side in the field reached a very high standard indeed. Pavilion critics were all agreed that it was a most unusual treat to see keenness and enthusiasm in the field at Grange Loan, and the hope was freely expressed that certain lethargic members of our 1st XI would profit by the ladies’ example in this respect.

"Close of the Craigmount innings"

By way of saving their self-respect our players batted left-handed, and the feature of our innings was a really fine knock by Mr J. G. Kyd, who played so well that doubts were expressed as to his really being a right-handed batsman! Mr Kyd’s splendid display was duly noted for future reference, and we are looking forward to his appearance next season in more serious contests.



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