Una Paisley

Born on November 18th 1922 in Melbourne, Victoria, former Australian Test cricket captain, Una Lillian Paisley.

Batting right hand, usually number three, bowling off-breaks, Paisley was one of the best allrounders Australia has ever produced and she played most of her cricket alongside arguably the greatest, fellow Victorian Betty Wilson.

Una’s First Class debut was for Victoria against South Australia at Unley Oval in 1937/8 where she top scored with 36 in a match that included Test stars Nell McLarty, Elsie Deane and Peggy Antonio. It was also the debut of Wilson.

Her second First Class match was again at Unley Oval in Adelaide in 1946/7, the war stripping nearly a decade from Paisley’s career. Later that same season, Paisley would make her Test debut in a one-off Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. Batting at number four and joined by another debutant, Wilson at five, Paisley carefully crafted her innings while her partner blazed away in a fashion previously unseen in Test cricket. Wilson eventually took one too many chances, out for 90, while at the other Una continued chipping away and scored a debut Test century, 108. This was the first century by an Australian woman in Test cricket.

Una had a knack of scoring centuries. She was also a noted scorer of singles and in one innings combined both, scoring a century entirely in singles.

Promoted in 1956/7 to the Test captaincy, Una became Australia’s third Test captain, following Margaret Peden and Mollie Dive. She celebrated by making a century in her debut as captain as she guided Australia to an innings victory over New Zealand in Adelaide.

Una played all but one of her Tests alongside Betty Wilson, the latter being the dasher, the “Female Bradman” while the former quietly gathered runs at the other end. They were the perfect duo in the middle order for Australia.

In twelve Test matches over thirteen years, Una made 471 runs at 27.70 and took 19 wickets at 22.91. In four Tests as skipper she didn’t lose a match. A Life Member of Victoria’s WCA and a Victorian selector from 1956-1976.

Suffering from liver cancer Una died at the early age of 55 in 1977, still living in her parent’s house in Osborne Street, Northcote and much of the story of this glorious player has faded from view.