The Definitive: Charlotte Edwards

The Definitive: Charlotte Edwards

With the Women’s Ashes just one week away we take a look back at Ed Kemp’s chat with Charlotte Edwards, the queen of English cricket, about the 10 defining moments of her career.

ANYTHING THE BOYS CAN DO…
30* | Huntingdonshire v Hertfordshire, Kimbolton Castle, 1992

My first boys’ county game. I was playing a year above myself so I was 12 and it was an under 13 team. Whenever I played a game of cricket at that age there was always a lot of pressure on me because I was the first girl. Actually, the worst bit was turning up to a game and asking someone at the club, ‘Have you got a ladies toilet?’ and they were like, ‘What are you doing here?’ I’d dread those moments more than actually walking out onto the pitch for the first time! But it toughened me up. The most memorable thing about that day was that a guy called Micky Dunn was watching the game, who then put me forward for East Anglia women’s trials.

THE ENGLAND DEBUT
34 & 31 | England v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Guildford, 1996

I was 16 and I had been picked to play in the tour match for a President’s XI against New Zealand – that’s when I burst onto the scene and first thought, ‘I can do it against international teams’. I realised that playing for England probably wasn’t too far away and then from that performance I got selected for the third Test that summer. I’d seen how New Zealand had outplayed England that summer, so I knew that this team was really, really good and that it was going to be tough. I opened the batting with my hero Janette Brittin; it was brilliant for me to be out there with her. I can see my first runs in international cricket now, I prodded it into the off side for two… that’s a big moment, my first runs in international cricket!

Lottie on the way to her maiden ODI ton
Lottie on the way to her maiden ODI ton

THE FIRST HUNDRED
102 | England v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Taunton, 1997

I was jumping up and down like a proper school girl! I didn’t really know what to do! I was 17-and-a-half then, so it was unbelievable, to get a milestone so early on in my career certainly took the pressure off me moving forward. I wasn’t then searching for it, I was lucky that I performed and took to international cricket so early.

NEARLY A RECORD-BREAKER
173* | England v Ireland, Women’s World Cup Match, Pune, 1997

When I came off the field everyone thought that I had broken the world record. Then 20 minutes later we heard that Belinda Clark had broken it for Australia – she hit 229* against Denmark. But it was still a huge moment, to think that I had scored that many runs in an ODI! I’m not sure how I did it! I remember being very tired… The next game against Australia I got a duck – that was a good early lesson that you’re only as good as your last game. That Australia side were just an awesome outfit – the best team I’ve ever played against.

BEATING THE AUSSIES, AT LAST
32 | England v Australia, 3rd Women’s ODI, Stratford-Upon-Avon, 2005

This is a moment that’ll stick with me forever: to have finally, finally beaten them! Every game I’d ever played against them I’d lost and we’d had two really close games against them so it was 2-0 going into this game. We won off the last ball and I’ve got this picture of me going to pick up the stump with the whole team in the middle. It’s one of my most memorable moments in cricket, to have finally beaten that bloody Australian team. Then to win the Ashes, when we hadn’t won for 42 years, and be part of the celebrations in Trafalgar Square… we were part of it and women’s cricket was put on the map. That summer it was great to be English and be part of English cricket.

THE FIRST TON AS SKIPPER
26 & 105 | England v India, 2nd Test, Taunton, 2006

This was quite a big moment for me. I had taken over from Clare Connor as captain and I didn’t have a great run at the start of my captaincy, so this was a turning point. I think I was trying too hard before then – as captain you want to lead from the front and you feel that the only way you can do that is through scoring runs. I’ve realised since then that actually I’d already got the respect of the girls in terms of what I had done before, so I needed just to relax a little bit, which I did.

THE START OF SOMETHING
94 & 14* | Australia v England, Only Test, Bowral, 2008

Beating the Australians in Australia at Bowral would certainly be in my top five – just to win out there at such a beautiful ground. We were under the pump here, this tour was difficult at times, it was when me, Mark Lane and Jack Birkenshaw were put together as a management and coaching group. And this was an important moment for us as a team, it gave us a lot of belief and it played a huge part in why we were so successful in that year before the World Cup. It was a really good game, and helped our momentum to go on and win the World Cup in 2009.

Lifting the T20 World Cup in 2009
Lifting the World Cup in 2009

WINNING THE WORLD CUP
10 | England v New Zealand, World Cup Final, Sydney, 2009

I remember getting a really bad decision and having to just sit out of the way thinking, ‘Please, let us get these runs!’ We looked like we were going to get it, then suddenly we had a collapse and it looked a bit tricky, but Nicky Shaw and Holly Colvin got us over the line. Those last 20 overs were just painful! I was playing in my fourth World Cup and I kept thinking, ‘It’s now or never’. Lifting the World Cup trophy was incredible. It was quite surreal really and I look at the pictures now and think, ‘Did I really do that?’

THE ULTIMATE SHOWCASE
25 | England v Australia, Women’s World T20 Semi-Final, The Oval, 2009

For the general public this is the game people will always remember. We’d done poorly against Australia in Twenty20s so we turned up knowing that we’d have to play well. They got 163, but I remember getting my stuff on and being quite positive. After the first ball, which I faced, I thought, ‘We can do this’ – the pitch was good and the outfield was quick. Claire Taylor played her best innings and Beth Morgan was just unbelievable – they chased down 10-an-over to win. It was a fantastic spectacle for the game and I think a lot of people changed their perception of women’s cricket that day.

BATTING NIRVANA
137* | New Zealand v England, 2nd ODI, Lincoln, 2012

This was probably my best innings in terms of the way I played and how I hit the ball. It was freezing and I didn’t think we’d get on, but suddenly we were playing! It got reduced to a 26-over game and it’s quite ridiculous to think I scored that many runs in that amount of time [88 balls]. Everything I hit just went for four or just pierced the gap; it was one of those days when it was meant to be.

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