publication . Article . 2012

Who killed schoolgirl cricket? The Women's Cricket Association and the death of an opportunity, 1945-1960

Nicholson, Rafaelle;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Dec 2012
  • Country: United Kingdom
This article examines the reasons behind the decline of schoolgirl cricket in the years between 1945 and 1960. It considers the impact of the Education Act 1944 and 'secondary education for all' on girls' physical education in general, focusing on why certain sports, in particular cricket, were not widely introduced into the new secondary modern and grammar schools. The outreach programme of the Women's Cricket Association, the governing body of women's cricket, to these new schools is considered alongside the problem of equipment and pitch shortages. Ultimately, blame for schoolgirl cricket's failure to become entrenched within the English education system is p...
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7 Hargreaves, Sporting Females: 120-122, 152-154.

8 Richard Holt and Tony Mason, Sport in Britain, 1945-2000 (Oxford: OUP, 2000): 17.

9 Peter McIntosh, Physical Education in England since 1800 (London: Camelot Press, 1952); John Welshman, 'Physical Culture and Sport in British Schools, 1900-40', International Journal of the History of Sport 15:1 (1998); John Welshman, 'Physical Education and the School Medical Service in England and Wales, 1907-39', Social History of Medicine 9:1 (1996); Fiona Skillen, ' “A sound system of physical training”: the development of PE in interwar Scotland', History of Education 38:3 (2009).

10 Welshman, 'PE and the School Medical Service': 48.

11 Exceptions are McIntosh, Physical Education in England, and Sheila Fletcher, Women First: the female tradition in English physical education (London: Athlone Press, 1984).

12 Education Act 1944, 7 and 8 Geo 6 c. 31 (London: HMSO): s.53(1).

19 Jack Williams, Cricket and England: 100.

20 Martin Francis, 'Leisure and Popular Culture', in Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska (ed.), Women in Twentieth-Century Britain (Harlow: Longman, 2001): 237.

21 On the decline of cricket in state schools, see The Telegraph, 20 May 2010. There is evidence that state school teachers have been relucant to introduce cricket even among male pupils due to concerns about its unsuitability in this context. See for example School Sport Magazine, July 1976.

22 Women's Cricket Association, 'Yearbook 1952: AGM minutes', Women's Cricket Associates, (accessed January 27 2012).

23 WCA Executive Committee minutes, 14 November 1947, WCA Archive, Lancashire. Elizabeth Riley was a Territorial Representative for the East Territory and a Kent player.

24 Colwall is a village in Herefordshire. The WCA's Cricket Week was held there because this was where the founders of the Association had been holidaying when they made the decision to form the WCA; the village was referred to as the 'birthplace' of women's cricket.

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