Cricket at Friends’
Posted on July 3, 2020
A recent conversation between Jane Longhurst and Dr Jacqui Triffitt on ABC Hobart has stirred an interest in the beginnings of women’s cricket here at Friends’.
The earliest recorded game of the Friends’ female cricket against a team of Friends’ boys, was reported in the November 1891 edition of School Echoes; ‘On September 5th the girls played an audible game on the Boys’ playground during the absence of the usual tenants…BOYS v. GIRLS…’
Although official scores were not recorded it was later reported, ‘With reference to the match of the Sept. 19th, we are informed: “the match resulted in a win for the boys by seven runs and five wickets, those five however only averaged one run each in the first innings, so the general opinion was that the girls had not done badly, especially as the boys had done their best to win.”
In November School Echoes noted, ‘The last two month have passed away rapidly. The chief features have been the greater attention to Cricket and Photography, and the Influenza. Our girls have repeatedly been seen practising cricket after 4pm in Cooper’s Paddock. This is rather too public a playground and it is a pity they have not as good accommodation for games as the boys have. The boys have played several matches… We have not yet amongst us a cricketer who cares to keep a full and correct score-book.’ (p87).
A more detailed account of the second game followed in the December edition, the keen reporter wrote, ‘The girls have called their Club ‘Atalanta’. It is supposed that this name has been adopted because the members of the Club ran up their scores as fast as Atalanta* ran away from her competitors. The Club colours are old gold and cream…The girls’ team sent in the following: – Last Saturday, the 28th day of November, the second match between the Atalanta’s and Scientists [boys] took place. Before the commencement of the game one of our enthusiastic photographers took a photograph of the Atalanta club in full uniform that proceeding over, we took our places in fear and trembling awaiting with much anxiety the results of the first innings. Only too soon however we are all out, the swift bowling of the boys and their smart fielding being too much for us. Now it is their turn to go in and our bowling is evidently too east for one of them who like Nat. Ricket keeps the ball or rather our fielders busy, and at the close was seen to have scored 86 runs by himself. During the game, the water-can did good service to thirsty batters and fielders. We must not forget to mention for fear some of our readers have not yet been told that the game resulted in an easy victory for the boys who scored twice our number of runs. But though beaten, we the members of the Atalanta Club thoroughly enjoyed the game and hope the Scientists won’t be too proud to play with us again at some future date.’ (p98)
Throughout 1892 School Echoes reports that there were a number of further cricket matches played by Atalanta, including against the boy Boarders and Hobart Ladies’ College (May p111, June 119-120).
After this Atalanta, and girls’ cricket generally disappears from School Echoes. It is not until the 1980s when then student Felicity ‘Flick’ Boucher was a representative in the 1987-1988 state team, with Dr Jacqui Triffitt, that women’s cricket is mentioned.
In 1991 a female cricket team was formed at Friends’ once again, 100 years after Atalanta first played at the school. Interest in cricket gradually increased in popularity amongst our female students in the 1990s and 2000s, however, more recently Friends’ has not fielded a girls’ team.
*In Greek mythology Atalanta was a skilled hunter and runner.