White Ferns International Debut
On 16th February 1935, New Zealand became the third nation to play women’s Test cricket, following England and Australia. Having played no other cricket against any other nation, it was indeed, the White Ferns international debut.
England, fresh from their own successful introduction to Test cricket after their tour of Australia, stop off in New Zealand for a one off Test match. They are a hardened unit, having toured as a group through the Australian summer, from Perth to Sydney and just about everywhere in between. They are match fit.
New Zealand: Hilda Buck, Margaret Marks, Pearl Savin (wk), Mabel Corby, Ruth Symons (c), Marge Bishop, Agnes Ell, Margaret Taylor, Meryl Hollis, Hazel Miller, Nancy Browne
England: Myrtle Maclagan, Betty Snowball (wk), Molly Hide, Mollie Child, Joy Partridge, Betty Archdale (c), Mary Richards, Doris Turner, Joy Liebert, Mary Taylor, Mary Spear
It was the home town girl, Ruth Symons, who tossed the coin with Betty Archdale at Lancaster Park in Christchurch. Symons was born in Christchurch, played all her cricket for Canterbury and later died in Christchurch. She was Canterbury through and through. Perhaps the coin was from Canterbury also, for it fell in Ruth’s favour, winning the toss for the White Ferns in their first outing. Symons chose to bat first.
That’s as rosy a picture as one can paint for this day, because the toss was the only thing that went in favour of New Zealand. Hilda Buck and Margaret Marks opened the batting but both were soon back with their team mates. Both were caught by Mary Spear from the bowling of Myrtle Maclagan. Just as Maclagan’s off breaks destroyed Australia’s batting she was now dining out on the White Ferns. She sent three of them back to the pavilion by the time New Zealand had reached six runs.
Only one Kiwi reached double figures on this day, Meryl Hollis, batting at number nine, scored 24. Symons was next best with 5. The White Ferns were bowled out for just 44 runs.
England passed the New Zealand score before losing a wicket, Myrtle Maclagan, caught Symons bowled Miller for 26. England 1/55. Betty Snowball (189), Molly Hide (110) and Mollie Child (86*) plundered the attack mercilessly. At stumps on this first day of Test cricket in New Zealand, England were a whopping 4/431.
It was as tough an introduction to Test cricket as any team had ever endured. Perhaps this baptism of fire is what forged one of cricket’s great cricket nations. This struggle occurred on Saturday February 16th, 1935. The next day was Sunday, a Rest Day. They sure needed it.
On the Monday, Archdale declared at 5/503. Snowball’s 189 in 222 minutes was the highest score in women’s Tests until overtaken by Sandhya Agarwal (190) in 1986. It was also the first century by a female wicket keeper. Symon’s 2-71 was the best of the bowling.
The White Ferns performed considerably better with the bat in the second innings, scoring 122. England won the Test match by an innings and 337 runs. Quite remarkable when you consider that all occurred inside two days.
New Zealand 44 (Hollis 24, Maclagan 5-22, Taylor 3-6) and 122 (Bishop 27, Marks 23, Partridge 4-60) lost to England 5/503 (Snowball 189, Hide 110, Child 86*, Symons 2-71)