Eileen Ash

Eileen Ash (née Whelan; born 30 October 1911) is a former English cricketer who played seven Test matches for England between 1937 and 1949. She is the oldest living international cricketer.[1][2]

Eileen Ash
Personal information
Full nameEileen Ash (nee Whelan)
Born (1911-10-30) 30 October 1911
Highbury, London, England
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 18)12 June 1937 v Australia
Last Test29 March 1949 v New Zealand
Career statistics
Competition Test cricket
Matches 7
Runs scored 38
Batting average 4.75
100s/50s 0/0
Top score 10
Balls bowled 594
Wickets 10
Bowling average 23.00
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 4/68
Catches/stumpings 3/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 25 November 2011


Whelan played Test cricket both before and after the Second World War, making her debut against Australia at Northampton in June 1937 and playing her last game against New Zealand in Auckland in March 1949. A specialist bowler, she took 10 Test wickets at 23 runs apiece. Whelan also played representative cricket for the Civil Service, Middlesex and South of England.[3]

Outside of playing cricket, Ash was employed by the Civil Service from the age of 18. She was seconded to MI6 during World War II, and went on to work with the organisation for eleven years. Ash and her husband eventually retired to Norwich. She took up golf in later life, only quitting at the age of 98.[4]

In 2011, Ash became the first female test cricketer to live to 100 years old. She was made an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club to mark the occasion.[4] Writing for the BBC in February 2017, Heather Knight, England's captain, said,

"I had the absolute privilege of meeting Eileen Ash, the oldest living Test cricketer (male or female) for some filming before I left for Australia, and she is easily one of the most extraordinary ladies I've ever met. She's 105, does yoga every week and I've met teenagers who have a lot less energy than she does! It was amazing to hear some of her experiences of playing cricket for England, especially the boat trips they used to have to take to play in Australia, and she also took me through her yoga routine. My pride, and a number of my muscle groups, are still in tatters after being put to shame by a 105-year-old."[5]

In July 2017, aged 105, Ash rang the bell at Lord's to signal the start of play at the 2017 Women's World Cup Final, which England won.[6] She passed her driving test at the age of 105, a feat covered on the ITV reality show 100-Year-Old Driving School.[7] To mark her 106th birthday, she was taken for a flight in a Tiger Moth.[7] In November 2018, she opened a sports hall named in her honour at The Hewett Academy in Norwich.


  1. "104-year-old woman keeps fit with yoga". BBC News. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  2. "Eileen Ash, 107, honoured with portrait at Lord's". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  3. "Player Profile: Eileen Whelan". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  4. Eileen and the gift of life, Let's Talk, 14 September 2013.
  5. Knight, Heather (5 February 2017). "Heather Knight column: Women's Big Bash League, Taylor Swift and the oldest living Test cricketer". BBC News Online. BBC. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  6. Eileen Ash to ring the bell at Lord’s, International Cricket Council, 22 July 2017.
  7. Simon Briggs, "The oldest Test player cruises on past her century", Daily Telegraph, 4 November 2017, Sports Section page 24.
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