Students from the University of Huddersfield have helped uncover the hidden history of women’s cricket in Yorkshire.

History students Cerys Auty, Laura Sharp, Millie Denton and Tilly Olphin unearthed a wealth of information about the progress of women’s cricket in the county stretching back to the 1700s.

Mentored and supported by Charlotte Hughes, head of heritage with the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF), the fruits of the students’ research over a six-month period are on show in the Long Room at Headingley, home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).

The exhibition, entitled ‘Unlocking the Histories of Cricket: The Women’s Game’, was officially launched by Dr Jane Powell, YCCC president and a former England captain.

The exhibition will be on display for the entire season and with Headingley hosting international and domestic matches throughout the summer, the hard work of the student quartet will be seen by thousands of visitors to the legendary ground at a time when the profile of women’s cricket is on the rise.

Dr Powell said: “These girls have done a fantastic job of researching women’s cricket in Yorkshire. It was wonderful how excited they became, because they didn’t realise what they were researching because it was hidden.

“Now it is out in the public domain and, not only that, but it’s in the Long Room here at Headingley where all the members come in.

“I have often been asked whether Yorkshire have played women’s cricket for very long, so now I don’t have to answer that because everything they need is here.”



The project to create the exhibition was developed by Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, YCCC’s charity and community arm, in partnership with the university through Prof Rob Ellis, of the History Department.

Millie, one of the students involved, said: “Cricket is not a sport dominated by women, so the project was very intriguing when Rob mentioned it to us.

“To get to give voices to women, who have often been ignored in cricket, was great and my grandma plays cricket so I love that too.”

Fellow student Laura added: “We have found the majority of the primary material from the Yorkshire archive but Jane Powell was a massive help to us.

“She gave us a lot of material from her time as a player, but generally a lot has been lost or just does not exist anymore, but Jane told us that there’s a need for other former players to donate.”

The women’s game thrived in parallel to the men’s but it remained very much hidden and marginalised, despite England’s women being the first national cricket side to win a World Cup in 1973.

Progress in promoting the game was slow, with women only being allowed to enter the Long Room in the pavilion at Lord’s, the sport’s headquarters, in 1999.

Tilly said: “Hopefully the exhibition will open the door to better inclusivity, and to more projects as well.

“We found a lot of material and information about women’s cricket in India and Pakistan but we could not include that in this research as much as we would have liked to.

“Hopefully it will spark more people into more research that looks into the other amazing women that were able to play.”

Cerys, meanwhile, is thrilled that so many more people will be finding out more about women’s cricket during the rest of the season.

“It is exciting, and a really big thing for us,” she said. “To be able to come here and see it after spending the year by a computer, reading, researching and writing, and to know how many people are going to see it as a first piece of public history as a student is almost overwhelming.”

The success of the project means that the university and YCF are already planning future collaborations.