England’s Eileen Ash is 109 and not out and the oldest living test star in the world.
Now, her portrait is finally going to have a home at Lord’s. But, MCC itself refused to honour her by buying her portrait for cricket’s HQ. It is by Alex Chamberlin the same artist who painted that much-admired centurion Sir Tom Moore.
Instead, former PM John Major and former ECB chair Lord MacLaurin are among cricket-lovers who have stumped up £12,000 between them and Middlesex CC to make sure Eileen’s portrait will hang in the Middlesex Rooms at Lord’s. It will go there ‘later this season’.
The MCC turned down the chance to own the portrait of the world’s oldest living test hero…seen above in this excellent portrait by Alex Chamberlin. The MCC said it could not afford the asking price.
Ash is the only survivor of the 1937 first women’s test match on English soil.
Eileen Ash, 109, a medium-pacer and great fielder, made her debut in the first test at Northampton. She then took 3 for 35 as England won the Blackpool 2nd test match of 1937 in the first ever Australia series at home.
She was a cert for the proposed 1939 return tour to Oz, but her test career was halted in its prime because of the war, when she worked for M16.
However, by then in her late thirties, she in 1948 was on board with England again as they sailed by The Orion to Australia. In an tour match against Victoria County she recalled; ‘I had the time of my life scoring a quick 104 and then took 5 for 10, every one clean bowled’. Her overall test figures were ten wickets at 23.0. In 2011, she was made an honorary member of MCC.
Ash was last seen at Lord’s in 2019 when she attended the President’s box for the test match v India. She has had a stroke and is hard of hearing but hopefully her image will be put up in time for her 110th birthday in October.