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Women at the Wicket: A History of Women’s Cricket in Interwar England

Written by Adam McKie

Foreword by Alison Mitchell

As the golden age of men’s cricket came crashing to an end during the summer of 1914, it unexpectedly marked the beginning of women’s mass adoption of the national game. Women eagerly responded to the country’s wartime plea for help, but as they entered the factories, depots and factories of England, few anticipated they would also enter the cricket field. From a handful of wealthy, country-house teams before the war, by 1939 the sport had been transformed. International tours, first-class county venues, crowds in their thousands, and a substantial rise in playing numbers: women’s cricket became a permanent and widespread feature of the English summer. But their physical liberation was not without liberation, and accusations of being ‘unsexed’, uncivilised and manly doggedly pursued the sport. Just as players began to earn the respect and admiration of the public, the Second World War intervened, and women’s cricket became another casualty of the conflict.

The fourth volume in the Cricket Witness series, this book is the first in-depth study of the formative years of the game, and places the sport within broader changes in women’s education, employment, and civil rights, and argues cricket was a new setting for women’s emancipation after achieving electoral equality in 1928.

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