Rachael Heyhoe Flint to be honored with new gate at Lord's
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint © Getty Images
England legend Rachael Heyhoe Flint’s work on and off the field will be commemorated at Lord’s with a newly named gate, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced on Wednesday (August 04), after the section of MCC was criticised for their reservations about immortalizing the legacy of former England captain, back in May 2021.
The new gate will be commissioned and unveiled in the summer of 2022 and it will replace the current North Gate by Wellington Road. The announcement of the Heyhoe Flint Gate at the iconic cricket ground coincides with the 45th anniversary of the first women’s One-Day International, to be held at Lord’s, in which Heyhoe Flint led England on to the Main Ground for the first time, to face Australia on 4 August 1976.
"We wanted to recognise not only Rachael Heyhoe Flint's playing career but also her enduring impact on the game,” said Guy Lavender, Chief Executive and Secretary of MCC. “Women's access to play and watch cricket at Lord's, and to participate in the game more widely, has come a long way and in commissioning new gates featuring a permanent memorial at Lord's we are recognising Rachael Heyhoe Flint's crucial role in this progression," he continued.
“When the vote was passed to allow women to become Members in 1998, I ran with Mum, giddy with delight, out of Lord's Tavern to the Grace Gate for a barrage of interviews. It feels like there's a lovely symmetry that she is now remembered with a gate of her own,” Ben Heyhoe Flint, Rachael's son said, reflecting on his mother’s memories.
“This is the honour of all possible honours: a means of access - for everyone to be able to enter the Home of Cricket - is a perfect memorial to match Mum's beliefs as a champion of access and equality. I'm just wondering if I'll need to bow when I next go through it," he added.
Heyhoe-Flint, a true pioneer in women’s cricket, played 22 Tests and 23 ODIs for England. In 1976, she batted for record-breaking 521 minutes while making 179 against Australia at The Oval to draw a test. Her most significant contribution to the sport came in 1973 when she was instrumental in the formation of the first-ever Cricket World Cup for women two years before the inaugural Men’s World Cup in 1975. In 2010, a portrait of Heyhoe Flint was inaugurated in the Pavilion at Lord’s, above the entrance to the renowned Long Room.
After leading the campaign for women to be able to join MCC, in 2004, she became the first woman to be elected for the Main Committee. Heyhoe-Flint died on January 18, 2017, at the age of 77. She was also awarded Honorary Life Membership of the MCC, the first-ever woman to be inducted into the Internation Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame, and one of the first two women to the board of England Cricket Board (ECB). In 2020, ECB announced the renaming of the regional competition in her name to honour her legacy.