Woman plays in men's league

English wicket- keeper Sarah Taylor playing for Northern Districts against Port Adelaide in South Australia's premier men's cricket competition, the first woman to do so. Port Adelaide are at 227-3 after the first innings of the two-day match.
English wicket- keeper Sarah Taylor playing for Northern Districts against Port Adelaide in South Australia's premier men's cricket competition, the first woman to do so. Port Adelaide are at 227-3 after the first innings of the two-day match. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ADELAIDE • England international Sarah Taylor, 26, made history on Saturday by becoming the first woman to play men's grade cricket in Australia.

She appeared as wicket-keeper for Northern Districts against Port Adelaide in South Australia's premier men's competition.

Northern Districts won the toss and put Port Adelaide in to bat, only to see them rack up 177 before the first wicket fell.

Ahead of the two-day match, Taylor said she was feeling "a combination of nerves and excitement".

"I've always wanted to push myself and check where I'm at in terms of my cricket," added the veteran of eight Tests, 98 one-day internationals and 73 Twenty20 internationals. "It shows that if you're good enough, doors will open... I just want to build that respect that I'm not a girl, I'm just another player."

"I have grown up playing boys' cricket at Brighton College and more recently in the ECB men's premier league for Walmley CC, so I am used to playing with the guys," she added.

Cricket Australia's team performance manager Pat Howard said Taylor was ready for the challenge: "As the women's game becomes increasingly professional, there are more opportunities than ever before for elite female players."

Taylor will play for Adelaide Strikers in the inaugural edition of the Women's Big Bash League this winter, and is also currently playing 50-overs women's state cricket.

Earlier this year, the England fast bowler Kate Cross became the first woman to play in the 123-year-old Central Lancashire League.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Woman plays in men's league'. Print Edition | Subscribe