LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Former England cricketer Enid, 74, picks up another honour

From playing in the streets during childhood to reaching the pinnacle of sporting success; it is a difficult journey but one that you do hear about now and then.

By Helen Beighton
Thursday, 26th November 2015, 9:47 am
Enid Bakewell
Enid Bakewell

However if you add the details that the child was a girl, who played cricket with the boys in a Nottinghamshire coal mining village, and went on to achieve such great things that she won a place in her sport’s international Hall of Fame - now that is some story.

But for Enid Bakewell that is exactly what happened.

Enid grew up in Newstead in the 1940s and went on to achieve a number of impressive cricketing records while playing for her country.

Enid Bakewell's Lifetime Achievement award

Her achievements are perhaps not as well known as they should be, but those in the sporting world certainly appreciate them, as demonstrated when the 74-year-old was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards.

Enid said: “I said to them ‘it’s a bit cheeky, but it’s a bit early to give me this because I not going to give up playing until I am 80 at least!’”

She describes cricket as her ‘first love’, and it was a love that developed from early childhood.

“I was a tomboy,” she told the Chad.

“I had my own football boots at nine. I played cricket in the summer and when it got colder I played football.”

Enid, then Enid Turton, and the village boys often played in the street or on the field next to the vicarage in Newstead.

It wasn’t until she passed her 11-plus and went to grammar school in Nottingham that her PE teacher put her in touch with a club and she played organised cricket.

She went on to play for the Nottinghamshire women’s county team and for the East Midlands before she started Dartford College of Physical Education to train as a PE teacher.

Playing for teams in the south meant that her all-rounder skills were noticed as she fitted in playing around her teaching.

She was selected to play for England for the tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1968/69, but taking up her place was not an easy decision.

“I had a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter called Lorna,” she said.

“I umm-ed and aah-ed because they selected me and I thought I couldn’t leave her.”

In the end Enid said yes and her parents helped her husband to look after their daughter for the four and a half months she was away.

“There were no mobiles or texts but I wrote letters a lot,” she said.

“Obviously I missed her tremendously.”

As well as making some lifelong friends on the tour, Enid put in some record-breaking cricket playing performances.

She scored 113 on her debut in Adelaide, with her tour stats finishing up at 1,031 runs and 118 wickets.

Enid played in the first ever Women’s World Cup in 1973, when England beat Australia in the final at Edgbaston. She scored 118 and bowled two wickets in the 60-over match.

And she was part of the England team that played in the first televised women’s game at Lord’s when England again beat the Aussies.

“It was quite nerve wracking,” she said.

“The rumour was the MCC would not allow a woman in the scorebox. We didn’t even know whether we were going to be allowed use the changing rooms because women weren’t allowed in the Long Room.”

Asked what is her best achievement in the game is, Enid said she has two; the World Cup final and her last Test appearance against the West Indies in 1979.

“I got 118 in the World Cup in ‘73 and that record will probably never be broken because they don’t play 60 overs now. And my Dad came to watch me,” she said.

“In the match against the West Indies, I was only off the pitch for 20 minutes. I took 10 wickets in the match and they didn’t get me out.”

In fact, Enid was the first English player, male or female, to score a ton and take 10 wickets in the same Test, something that only Ian Botham has since achieved.

After retiring from international cricket in 1982, Enid took up some key coaching roles in the game because she ‘wanted to give something back’.

She had cut her coaching teeth over several years and between having her two youngest children, moving on to coach the England under 25s and under 19s where she helped current England women’s captain, Charlotte Edwards, develop.

Charlotte describes Enid as her ‘inspiration’.

Charlotte said: “Her career achievements are just incredible – the stats speak for themselves.

“To score a hundred for your country in a World Cup final is something that every player dreams of, and is definitely something that I still hope to emulate.

“Put simply, Enid is one of England’s all-time cricket greats, and we are all so grateful to her and the rest of her generation for laying the foundations for the professional women’s game today.”

Women’s cricket has come on leaps and bounds during her lifetime but Enid thinks there is some way to go before it is given the credit and coverage it deserves.

“They need to talk more in depth about women’s sport, not what they are wearing but the tactics within the game,” she said.

“Women’s cricket has improved tremendously. The fielding is so dynamic and the batting is so aggressive.”

Enid was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame alongside Brian Lara in 2012 and named as one of Wisden’s five greatest ever female cricketers in 2014, but her thirst for cricket continues and she still plays regularly for a team in Surrey, travelling down from her Kirkby home for matches.

As she said, she wants to play until she is at least 80 and never envisaged the success she has had.

“I just enjoyed playing with the lads and being one of them,” she added.

“I never dreamed I would achieve so much.”