Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ex-Cricket Champion Joins Fight

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ex-Cricket Champion Joins Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: By Joanna Peart

A former top female cricket player has become patron of the campaign to save a North-East cricket ground from closure. Joanna Peart finds out why.

Dorothy Macfarlane has fond memories of Newcastle Cricket Club ( because this is where her interest in the game began more than half a century ago.

Nicknamed "the Mac", not only was Dorothy, now 72, one of the fastest female bowlers in the country in her prime, but she was also among 10 women to be picked to represent England in 1957's first all female Test match against New Zealand.

Now she is throwing her support behind the campaign to save the Jesmond-based cricket ground that got her remarkable talent noticed all those years ago. "I used to live just two streets away from the ground, in Buston Terrace, so I would go along and play cricket with a group of friends, most of them boys," explains Dorothy, who lives on the Coast Road in Newcastle.

"Before that, I was evacuated to Carlisle at the age of six and ended up staying with a family who had six boys, so I learnt a lot about cricket then. I had an unusual bowling style and used to bring my hand from behind my back, rather than just bowl straight. It was useful because nobody could see where the ball was going to go." And it was this that got her noticed by George Mallon ( the secretary of Newcastle Cricket Club, who suggested she should try out for the women's team.

"I was put in touch with a lady called Mary Gardner, who was responsible for women's cricket in the area," says Dorothy, who has never married.

"I went along to county trials in 1949 and it all started from there.

"Because there were very few women's clubs at the time, we had to combine to become Northumberland and Durham County.

"My dad was always a keen follower of cricket and he used to give me sixpence every time I got a wicket."

In 1956, Dorothy received a letter calling her up for the England squad. She had been selected to open the bowling for the first Test match against New Zealand, but had to raise pounds 310 ( plus money for equipment and a uniform ( in order to do it. …

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