I went to the second game at the Hove for the Ladies Ashes with an open mind. Perhaps I have been too harsh in criticising the BBC for promoting women’s sport in general and cricket in particular. My conclusion was I have not.
Why do spectators attend a sporting event?
One obvious reason, especially in football, is to see our team winning and overcome the opposition. Brighton are not playing better football than last season but we are winning and today go to Portman Road Ipswich for a top of the table clash.
Another is the joy of performance, seeing a sportsman or woman doing something we cannot and in some cases nor can his or her peers.
I think of Pele in the 1970 World Cup advancing on the Uruguayan keeper Mazurkiewicz, no mug but one of the best. A diagonal ball was played through and every other striker would have charged on hoping to get their first, maybe a lucky bounce, or intimidate the keeper to fumble.
At the crucial moment he veered off to the left the ball continued on his merry way to the right and Mazurkiwiecz remained between the two like a rabbit trapped by headlights. Pele now running behind the keeper retrieved the ball but his shot was cleared on the line. No player I have been ever seen thought of let alone execute such a manoeuvre.
So here’s the rub.
Women’s cricket has a low level of performance. When the England team asked for warm-up practice they played Northamptonshire Academy and had a net practice against Sussex 14 year olds. Of course it should be encouraged by the sporting institutions and government but the BBC is deluding itself if they think they have a watchable spectator sport.
Australia won the match and therefore the series by 20 runs. They posted a low total of 107 and England were all out for 87 . There was some athleticism in the field and wickets were enthusiastically celebrated but this was a very pale imitation of the real Ashes .
There are sports notably equestrianism where the sexes compete together. This could do with more exposure and in my opinion one that the BBC would do better to promote if it has equality agenda as seems to the case.