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Eileen Ash: Oldest ever Test cricketer – who played for England either side of Second World War – dies aged 110

Eileen Ash, the oldest ever Test cricketer, has died at the age of 110, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced.

Ash made her debut against Australia in 1937 and her career as a right-arm seamer resulted in seven England appearances in total – spread across either side of the Second World War.

The ECB described her as “a remarkable woman who led an extraordinary life”.

As well as playing for England, taking 10 wickets and scoring an average of 23, she played for the Civil Service Women, Middlesex Women and South Women domestically before retiring in 1949.

During the war, Ash was sent on a secondment to MI6. She also played golf until the age of 98.

During the 2017 World Cup final between England and India, her achievements were recognised as she rang the bell before the match.

Ash told Sky Sports after that final: “It was a marvellous finish. It was so lovely at Lord’s because everybody stood up and there was so much noise. It was worth all those years of pioneering.”

Ash, born in London, was also honoured with a portrait at Lord’s Cricket Ground and was given an honorary lifetime membership to the Marylebone Cricket Club.

To celebrate her 106th birthday in 2017, she took to the skies in a Tiger Moth and said that the secret to a long life was “laughing, sleeping, red wine and yoga”.

ECB managing director of women’s cricket Clare Connor said: “Our sport owes so much to its pioneers and Eileen was one of them. I am deeply sad to be saying goodbye to her today.

“(England captain) Heather (Knight) and I went to visit Eileen about six months before the 2017 Women’s World Cup – she was 105 at the time – and it was one of the most remarkable experiences.

“Eileen taught Heather yoga, we played snooker, we drank cups of tea and we leafed through newspapers and scrapbooks celebrating Eileen’s time as a player in the 1930s and 1940s.

“She regaled us with some amazing stories, including how she came to have her bat signed by Sir Donald Bradman at a French restaurant in Sydney in 1949. I know neither of us will ever forget that day, it was so special.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Eileen’s family as they come to terms with losing such a wonderful woman and the end of an astonishing life.”

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