Mollie Flaherty

Mollie Flaherty played six Test matches for Australia between 1937 and 1948/9. The allrounder from NSW was one of the quickest bowlers of her era.

Born on 10th May 1914 in Marrickville, New South Wales, Mary Jane “Mollie” Flaherty made her First Class debut in 1934/35 in Margaret Peden’s NSW team against the touring England team. Solid performances for NSW in the Australian Women’s Cricket Championships in 1935/36 and 1936/37 saw Mollie selected for the Australian squad to tour England in 1937.

In Australia’s first tour game in England, against Betty Archdale’s Kent team, Mollie took 7-33, including the wicket of the former England captain.

In her Test debut at Northampton, Mollie scored 14 runs batting at number nine before being bowled by Eileen Whelan (now Ash). She took no wickets in the first innings and didn’t bowl in the second. In the second Test Mollie took wickets in both innings and in the third Test her best Test figures of 2-4, including that of Eileen Whelan.

Like many of her team mates, Mollie worked in a munitions factory during World War Two as part of the home effort.

Following the war, Mollie played in the first ever Test between Australia and New Zealand, at the Basin Reserve in Wellington where she removed opener Billie Fulford in both innings. Betty Wilson and the other spin bowlers then finished the job.

Against the touring England team in 1948/49 Mollie played in the second and third Tests but went wicketless in both, her final performances in Test cricket. At age 35 it was time to hang up the boots, especially as a fast bowler. The ten years between Test matches due to the war robbed this cricketer, as with many others, of her best playing days. Mollie passed away on January 11th 1989, aged 74.