Jill Saulbrey

Jill Saulbrey is a former left arm pace bowler for New Zealand who played eleven Test matches and five ODIs. She played in the first World Cup in 1973.

Born February 22nd 1943 in Lower Hutt, Wellington, the first recorded matches for Jill are for Southland, way down at the lower end of New Zealand’s South Island. In 1957/8, England played a tour game against Southland. The home side was rolled for just 25, but the teenager who bowled left arm medium fast claimed her first international wicket, that of Cecilia Robinson.

In 1960/61 Muriel Picton’s team toured New Zealand and by now Jill is captain of Southland. She top scored in both innings but again the visitors were too strong. The accompanying photo is from the programme of that match and celebrated the fact that Southland had won the Mary Machin Shield for the first time in 20 seasons and retained it this season for good measure.

A first class debut for Otago in 1964/5 but not much time to get comfortable there, for the next season Jill had moved back to her birthplace and was padding up for Wellington in 1965/6. In 1966 she was on a plane to England, for she had been selected to play Test cricket for New Zealand in Trish McKelvey’s team.

In the second Test of that series, Jill showed she was made of stern stuff when she made 32 not out batting at number ten in a team total of 131. On the return tour in 1968/9 Jill removed Rachael Heyhoe and Lynne Thomas at Hagley Oval in Christchurch. She dismissed Heyhoe again in Auckland, making it three times Jill had dismissed the England captain.

Kiwis save their best on field work for the Aussies and in 1971/2 Jill picked up 7 wickets in the match as New Zealand defeated Australia by 143 runs. It was the first time the White Ferns had defeated their neighbours in Test cricket.

On tour to South Africa in the same season, Jill collected her best bowling figures when she took 5-32 at Kingsmead, Durban.

In her final Test match, at home in Wellington in 1974/5 Jill made her highest score with the bat, scoring 62 batting at number nine. It was the end of a Test career that spanned nine years. She took 35 wickets at 27.17 and scored 198 runs at 16.50 which is outstanding for someone who batted at the tail end.

Just prior to that final Test we squeezed in a World Cup. In 1973 Jill represented New Zealand in their first ever ODI team when the White Ferns played in the inaugural World Cup.