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Tributes as Rachael Heyhoe-Flint hailed as pioneer in women's sport

By Paul Burrows

Tributes have poured in for former England women's cricket captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who has died at the age of 77.

Heyhoe-Flint became one of the MCC's first women members and in 2004 was the first woman ever elected onto the club's full committee.

On the pitch, in a near 20-year international career, she represented her country 45 times in Tests and one-day internationals and won the 1973 World Cup as captain - having played a central role in establishing the tournament, two years before the men's equivalent.

The MCC announced her death last night, writing on Twitter: "MCC is deeply saddened to hear that Honorary Life Member Rachael Heyhoe-Flint has died aged 77.

"...in a 20-year-career (she was) considered one of the finest women's players ever."

The MCC flag on the Lord's clock tower has been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect for a cricketer who played in the first women's match to take place at the ground - against Australia in 1976 - and MCC president Matthew Fleming paid a personal heartfelt tribute.

He said: "This is a terribly sad day for everyone involved in cricket and all of us at MCC.

"Rachael Heyhoe-Flint was a pioneer of women's cricket - she was the first global superstar in the women's game - and her overall contribution to MCC, cricket and sport in general was immense.

"Her impact on MCC, be it through events on the field or in the committee room, was immeasurable - and her enthusiasm, wisdom and gentleness of character will be missed by everyone with whom she came into contact. We all loved her."

Heyhoe-Flint hit almost 1,600 runs at 45.54 in her 22 Tests, and averaged more than 58 in her 23 one-day internationals.

She was inducted into the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame in 2010, having become an honorary life member at the MCC in 1999 and gone on to serve two terms on the club committee.

Heyhoe-Flint, who died after a short illness, was also closely associated with her hometown football club Wolves as a vice-president.

A club statement spoke of her "huge contribution to Wolves and Wolverhampton", while flags at Molineux and at the City of Wolverhampton Council offices were flying at half-mast.

Belfast Telegraph

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