Third Test 1963

England v Australia

The Oval, Kennington: 20th – 23rd July 1963

With the sun doing its best to penetrate a cloudy London morning, the two skippers tossed the coin, with Mary Duggan the victor having no hesitation in batting on what looked like a very good wicket. Australia were forced into changing wicket keepers, so Margaret Jude made her debut, coming in for Norma Wilson.

Shirley Driscoll went early to Lorraine Kutcher while Ruth Westbrook fell victim to Muriel Picton, and England were soon 2/31 on this batting track. Jackie Elledge and Sandra Brown steadied the ship with a stand of 61, before Elledge went for 59 with the score at 3/93.

Enter the skipper, Mary Duggan, who played the innings of her career, a great captain’s knock scoring a not out century (101*) while all around her fell away, with the exception of Rachael Heyhoe who dug in with 36. The England score was 254 when Duggan declared eight down. Kutcher was the pick of the bowlers with 5-59.

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Australia had a tricky 45 minutes to negotiate until stumps and lost Lynn Denholm for 10 when the score was 20. Helen Lee came in to bat as night watchman and safely guided Australia to stumps with captain Mary Allitt.

On day two Lee began to strike the ball beautifully – and hard – but fell for 22. Not a bad effort for a night watchman; Australia 2/57. There were starts in the Aussie team, but only two players, Liz Amos (47) and Hazel Buck (55) managed to go on with it and for once the tail failed to produce, leaving Australia well short of the England score with only 205. The aggressive declaration by Duggan could now be seen to be a master stroke and she set about forcing the pace in the second innings.

Driscoll was runout early for eight, but England could afford to put the foot down, and while they lost steady wickets, put on a difficult total for Australia to chase. Duggan declared at 7/160 giving Australia a target of 210 runs to make in 225 minutes. What a way to set up the Ashes in the final Test! She was definitely an adventurous skipper, Mary Duggan.

Allitt and Denholm set about chasing down the total, but both were gone when the score was 43 and when Amos went for 13, quickly followed by Miriam Knee runout for 1, Australia attempted to shut up shop at 4/66. As is often the case, playing out time can cause normally level heads to do some funny things and Australia collapsed to be all out for 160, losing the Test by 49 runs and giving England victory in the series 1-0.

It was a sad end to the Test career of Mary Allitt as she handed over the Ashes to Mary Duggan who’d played a masterful match as captain, batter and bowler. Perhaps it was a karmic reward for her sportsmanship at Scarborough.


England 8 dec 254 (Duggan 101*, Elledge 59, Kutcher 5-59) and 7 dec 160 (Heyhoe 37*, Knee 3-53) defeated Australia 205 (Amos 55, Buck 47, Sanders 4-29, Duggan 4-42) and 160 (Duggan 3-40, Sanders 3/46) by 49 runs