Eileen Ash (née Whelan), England’s oldest living former women’s cricketer, will ring the bell to signal five minutes before the start of play at the ICC Women’s World Cup Final at Lord’s on Sunday.
105 year-old Eileen, who played seven Test matches for England either side of World War II, will signal the beginning of the historic match between England and India.
Born in north London, she made her Test debut for England against Australia at Northampton in 1937 as a specialist bowler, and played three Test matches in all that summer, taking 10 wickets.
She didn’t feature for England again until 12 years later, touring Australia and New Zealand and playing four further Tests.
In 2011, she became the first female Test player to reach her 100th birthday and, in the same year, was awarded Honorary Life Membership by MCC.
Other former England women’s players to have rung the five-minute bell at Lord’s include Clare Connor, Charlotte Edwards and Claire Taylor.
The ringing of the five-minute bell by an international cricketer, administrator or well-known enthusiast of the sport was introduced in 2007 and has since become a much-anticipated tradition.
The bell, which is located outside the Bowlers’ Bar in the annexe to the Pavilion at Lord’s, is rung to signify the imminent start of play, and it has come to be considered a great honour to be invited to ring it on the morning of a major match.