In the early 20th century All Saint’s Anglican Church fielded a cricket club that was considered to be the ‘second’ team of Preston. They had regular local derbies with the more established and prestigious Preston Cricket Club. In 1907, All Saints featured a ladies team for the first time. This team was a forerunner to the Preston Ladies Cricket Club that was founded in 1922 and produced a number of successful women cricketers.
Women’s cricket faced extensive societal prejudices and suffered through periods of decline, mixed with upshots of acceptance and participation. Melbourne was more readily accepting of women’s cricket than Sydney. World War One had a major impact on participation rates until the early 1920s when two clubs led a revival of the game in Melbourne. The two clubs were Preston and St. Peters. Of the two, Preston was no doubt the stronger, a newspaper report of a match played between the two sides in the early 1920s reports Preston finishing a day’s play at 3/81, with 38 of the runs coming in wides. Preston had already dismissed St Peters for just 32.
Preston was one of the four foundation clubs in the Victorian Womens Cricket Association (VWCA), when it was formed in 1923. This new level of organization helped to continue a revival of interest in the women’s game in the mid to late 1920s. Victoria was the first of the states to form its own women’s cricket association, further demonstrating the more liberal attitude to women’s cricket in Victoria. Cricket in general was enjoying a boom in popularity, due to the emergence of an exciting right-handed batsman from New South Wales, Don Bradman. The Preston Ladies Cricket Club would produce many fine women cricketers down the years and rightfully holds a place in the history of the advancement of organized women’s sport.
Cashman, Richard and Weaver, Amanda (1991) Wicket Women: Cricket & Women in Australia. Kensington, N.S.W.: New South Wales University Press.
Forster, Harley W. (1968). Preston Lands and People. Melbourne: Cheshire.