St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Matches St George's Park - Kiwi Women's Cricket Team Tours SA
Kiwi Women's Cricket Team Tours SA
Peter Pollock

March 1972 saw the visiting New Zealand Women's Cricket Team playing against a South African XI at St George's Park.

Skirts and high-pitched "Howzats" were expected to take over at St George's Park when the touring New Zealand women's cricketers played a South African XI captained by Eileen Hurley.

Those who felt that the cricket field was a man's domain naturally scoffed at any suggestions that the participants in this match would be able to provide worthwhile entertainment.

But, in their own right, there were several top-class exponents in the touring side and the fact that they had recently beat Australia entitled them to more than just a passing interest.

They women were tremendously enthusiastic, had a keen sense of what was basically required to make runs and take wickets. Though lack of physical strength does tend to slow down the tempo of the game, every other cricket ingredient is there.

Click image to enlarge
New Zealand Captain, Pat McKelvey, pulls a short ball to leg during her undefeated century at Newlands
The New Zealand captain, Pat McKelvey was obviously their star run-getter.

In their first innings of the Newlands Test she scored 43 and was then undefeated with 117 in the second knock.

The bowling analysis of the Kiwis also made highly interesting reading. For instance, in South Africa's first innings total of l65, Jill Saulbrey, who opened, sent down 48 overs, 26 of which were maidens. She also took four wicket for 38 runs.

Eileen Hurley's South African XI included several useful performers and the skipper herself had fond memories of the fine innings she played at St George's Park several years previously.

It did not appear likely that the South African combination would beat the tourists, but they were expected to provide stiff enough opposition to draw the best out of their opponents.

Anyway, it made a pleasant change listening to the shrill "how-zats" in an atmosphere that was keen but also relaxing.

It was not a fruitful day for the bowlers at St George's Park as first the touring New Zealand women's cricket team piled up 282 for five declared and then the South Africans replied with 95 for two wickets at close.

In 420 minutes of play, 377 runs were scored for the loss of only seven wickets, one of them a run out. The New Zealanders, sent in to bat on a grassy wicket, made merry from the start against an attack which was a little erratic in line and length.

Judy Doull set the run-scoring tempo with a delightful innings of 69, made up of elegant shots on both sides of the wicket. She looked extremely capable and the captain, Pat McKelvey lent valuable support with a half century which was competent if not all that spectacular.

The skipper did not manage a single boundary whereas Doull reached the boundary ropes on six occasions.

At lunch, the tourists were well in command with only two wickets down and a three figure total on the board, but just after the interval, three wickets fell in quick succession to the South African team's opening bowler, Ingrid Iverson.

But that breakthrough was to be the last bowling success of the day for Eileen Hurley's team because Elaine White and Carol Early soon dispelled any fears the Kiwis might have had about a collapse.

First they set about consolidating the position with some intelligent batting and then, once settled, took the attack by the scruff of the neck as they virtually picked runs at will.

White, who was not scared to loft the ball, belted the bowlers with impressive power while Early, timing the ball to perfection, struck some fine shots, particularly off her toes through the on-side.

Many runs could have been saved by spreading the field a little. As it was, Hurley made it too easy for White to lift the ball into the unguarded outfield.

When the South African team's turn at the crease came just after tea, the dominance of bat over ball still remained and the home side did not experience too much difficulty in reaching 95 for two wickets by close.

Brenda Williams, undefeated with 51, was going great guns and appeared to have the full measure of the Kiwi bowlers. Hatherall looked promising during her stay and there was no reason why the South African side could not manage a first innings total in the region of the visitors.

Eastern Province Herald

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