Myrtle Makes Merry

On 7th January 1935 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the first century in international women’s cricket was scored by England’s Myrtle Maclagan in the second Test against Australia.

Margaret Peden had won the toss for Australia on the first day (5th) and chose to bat. As in the first Test, the locals were knocked over by the spin of Myrtle Maclagan and were 9/147 at the close of play with Peggy Antonio and Anne Palmer at the crease.  There was a rest day on the 6th (Sunday)

Maclagan knocked over Palmer on the morning of the 7th to leave the locals all out for 162 and then proceeded to open the batting with Betty Snowball, with the pair creating the first century stand in women’s Tests. Snowball eventually fell for 71, the partnership 145.

Miss Snowball was the perfection of elegance. Her strokes, timed to a ‘nicety, were played with the full face of the bat. Off-drives, on-drives, cover drives, square-cuts, and late-cuts, were all part of her equipment. Her 71 was, from beginning to end, correct and fascinating.”

Molly Hide was next in and with Maclagan put on another 83 runs, during which time Myrtle passed the hundred mark. She was eventually out for 119 when the score was 230.

Miss Maclagan, with sound play made the first century in International women’s cricket. Her 319 was made in 3hr 3min, and included five fours and 10 threes. She provided a contrast to Miss Snowball. Miss Maclagan showed similar enterprise in going for her shots, but her execution was not so graceful. Her footwork, however, was very good. She frequently went, out to hit the ball. Her stroke-making was not so precise as Miss Snowball’s, but she drove with power, and brought off many fine cover shots, besides one or two rare back cuts.”

England skipper Betty Archdale declared the innings closed at 5/301 and despite some dogged batting by the Australians in the second innings, England won by nine wickets. The victory was a team effort but if there was ever a player of the match trophy back then it surely goes to Myrtle Maclagan with 6-68 and 119, the first woman in history to score a century in international cricket.

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