Rachael Heyhoe Flint to have a gate named after her. The only other person with a gate named after them? WG Grace, the game’s greatest legend.
The bastion of English cricket, London's Marylebone Cricket Club, has announced that it will be honouring Rachael Heyhoe Flint, the former England captain and pioneer of women’s cricket who died in 2017, by naming a permanent feature of the Lord’s ground after her.
The Heyhoe Flint Gate, to be unveiled next summer, is the first piece of architecture at cricket’s hallowed headquarters to pay tribute to a woman. It will replace the current North Gate, the most popular entrance to the ground, well known to the millions of matchgoers who have made the walk down the Wellington Road, sandwiches packed and tickets in hand.
It is a fitting memorial to the first lady of English cricket, the woman who hit the first six in a women’s Test, batted for eight-and-a-half hours to save an Ashes series and pretty much invented cricket’s World Cup. But it is also a significant statement: the only other cricketer to have a gate named after him at Lord’s is WG Grace, the game’s greatest legend.
It's also a symbol of where women’s sport has come from and where it is at now. Some will applaud the MCC and some will complain that it took it long. Lord’s may not be a place where things happen fast, but it can be place where they happen right. Far better a gate than a statue. Far better a place where cricket lovers will tell each other to meet, a favourite spot where a cricketing legend’s name will live on, on the lips and in the texted instructions of friends and family as they join up with each other, excited for the game.