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Bowl The Maidens Over: Our First Women Cricketers

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In 1874 at the Sandhurst Easter Fair, (Bendigo, Victoria) two teams of women cricketers assembled to play a cricket match in front of a rather large and enthusiastic crowd. It was a charity match raising funds for the Bendigo hospital and asylum. Bowl the Maidens Over: Our First Women Cricketers tells the story of these first competitive women’s cricket matches. The book follows the women players – and the members of the Rae family, pivotal in the establishment and organisation of the matches – from the first advertisement in the paper to the media storm that ensued post-game, linking to a present-day connection to an Australian sportswoman.

Bowl the Maidens Over: Our First Women Cricketers is a factual account of the first Australian women’s cricket matches commencing in 1874. Foreword by Dr Megan Ponsford.

‘This fascinating game in Bendigo has never been properly narrated – until now, in a delightful little book, Bowl the Maidens Over by Louise Zedda-Sampson.’ – Gideon Haigh, the Australian

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A factual account of the first Australian women’s cricket matches commencing in 1874, with a foreword by Dr Megan Ponsford.

In 1874 at the Sandhurst Easter Fair, (Bendigo, Victoria) two teams of women cricketers assembled to play a cricket match in front of a rather large and enthusiastic crowd. It was a charity match raising funds for the Bendigo hospital and asylum. Bowl the Maidens Over: Our First Women Cricketers tells the story of these first competitive women’s cricket matches. The book follows the women players – and the members of the Rae family, pivotal in the establishment and organisation of the matches – from the first advertisement in the paper to the media storm that ensued post-game, linking to a present-day connection to an Australian sportswoman.

As told through media reports of the times, this illustrated book visits those first matches and the public’s response. The illustrations give an added dimension to the story, and the extracts from the newspapers give an insight into the public’s mind.
Prior published work about Australian women’s cricket has only offered a short mention of the game. This book expands on those mentions and plays tribute to the early women cricketers. There are names in this book cricket history fans will recognise such as Midwinter, Wills, and of course, the Bendigo United Cricket Club – one of the most influential cricket clubs in Australia in the 1800s.

Even though women’s cricket matches had been played in England on and off since the 1600s (by some accounts), in Australia the women faced both positive and negative critique about the matches. The first women’s cricket association was formed in 1905, so it appeared in this newly developing colony that the 1874 women cricketers were just ahead of their time.

Hardcover, 5 x 8 inch, illustrated, 100 pages
Publisher: LZS Press
ISBN:9780645125504

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