Home Cricket The Underappreciated 2005 Ashes Victory of England: ‘We Were Mistaken for the Wives and Girlfriends’

The Underappreciated 2005 Ashes Victory of England: ‘We Were Mistaken for the Wives and Girlfriends’

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2005 Women's Ashes victory

As England’s women rejoiced in their Ashes triumph during a parade through London, the public sentiment remained somewhat skewed.

During the latter days of summer 2005, a team of eleven English female cricketers were in the process of securing a Test series win over their arch-nemesis, Australia. This significant victory served to discard the weight of historical defeats, soothe the sting of psychological wounds, and set off a massive wave of future successes.

The path to becoming the world’s top-ranked Test team began with this hard-fought series win, separated only by a single Test victory.

Were Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, and Steve Harmison the heroes that brought down Australia’s titans like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, and Ricky Ponting?


Prior to the first Ashes victory by England’s men in 19 years—a pivotal moment recounted in the recent Sport News Center documentary “How to Win the Ashes”—England’s women achieved their first Test series victory against Australia in 42 years.

However, the women’s victory was overlooked, both at the time and largely since.

Claire Connor (right) can be seen engaging with fellow captain Michael Vaughan (centre) and then Prime Minister Tony Blair at a Downing Street reception.

The unsung heroes of the 2005 ‘Forgotten Ashes’ were not lauded as their male counterparts were. They did not receive MBEs in mass, like the men’s team. Only Clare Connor, the team captain, received royal recognition in the form of a CBE.

Though invited to the celebratory open-top bus tour of London, they were always one step behind their male counterparts.

Katherine Sciver-Brunt, the pace bowler, recalls, “We took a bus tour around London. Our bus trailed behind, and everyone assumed we were the wives and girlfriends.”

At only 20, Sciver-Brunt became the player of the series. She claimed 14 wickets over the two Tests and secured a crucial 52 in the second Test victory at Worcester, marking the first Ashes series win since 1963.

“If my performance from that summer’s Ashes were today, I’d be signing deals with Nike, earning a Kookaburra contract, and be among the highest-paid IPL contract holders,” she remarks.

“But back then, Slazenger offered me a half-price kit, and our reward for winning was little more than a high-five.”

Frustration lingers among the players, as the victory didn’t receive the celebration it deserved, largely due to public ignorance.

Surprisingly, some of this ignorance even came from within Sciver-Brunt’s own family.

“I would call my father with my Nokia 5210 to update him on the score, depending on how much credit I had left,” she recalls. “Or I’d email him at work, as there was no other way for him to follow the progress.”

In 2005, Australia was a formidable foe, firmly established as world champions.

Holding the World Cup title and, akin to the men’s game, their dominance had left deep psychological scars on some of the more experienced English players.

Even Clare Connor acknowledges that the period from 1995 to 2005 was “an incredibly tough decade for England against Australia”.

Australia’s dominance appeared to persist during the first half of the first Test at Hove. However, England defied expectations with a century from the 23-year-old Arran Brindle in the second innings, which salvaged a draw and hinted at a burgeoning self-belief, particularly among the younger players.

That belief finally paid off in the second Test, where Sciver-Brunt played a key role in England’s victory, claiming nine wickets and sharing a pivotal 85-run 10th-wicket stand with Guha.

England had reclaimed the Women’s Ashes for the first time in 42 years, marking Australia’s first Test defeat in 21 years.

Despite the significant achievement, press coverage was sparse.

Nevertheless, these ‘Forgotten Ashes’ will always remain a cherished memory for Brunt and her teammates.

“The 2005 Ashes is one of my top three cricketing memories across my entire career, and one I never managed to duplicate. The longer wait made it even better,” she concludes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2005 Women’s Ashes victory

What significant event took place for English women’s cricket in the summer of 2005?

The English women’s cricket team secured a historic victory in the Ashes series against Australia. This was the first time in 42 years that they had achieved this.

Who was the standout player for the English women’s cricket team during the 2005 Ashes?

Katherine Sciver-Brunt was the standout player for England in the 2005 Ashes. She took 14 wickets over the two Tests and scored a vital 52 runs in the second Test.

Why is the women’s 2005 Ashes victory often referred to as the ‘Forgotten Ashes’?

The women’s 2005 Ashes victory is often referred to as the ‘Forgotten Ashes’ because it was largely overlooked both at the time and in subsequent years. This was mainly due to the focus on the men’s team, who also won the Ashes that year.

What impact did the women’s 2005 Ashes victory have on the future of women’s cricket?

The 2005 Ashes victory was a significant turning point for the women’s cricket. It helped to spur a larger movement in the sport, eventually leading to England becoming the top-ranked Test team in the world.

How was the women’s victory celebrated compared to the men’s victory in 2005?

While the men’s team was widely celebrated and each member awarded an MBE, the women’s victory was not given the same attention. Their celebration included an open-top bus tour of London, but they trailed behind the men’s team, and the public often mistook them for wives and girlfriends. Only the team captain, Clare Connor, received royal recognition with a CBE.

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SarahJ June 14, 2023 - 8:23 am

I remember watching the women’s victory. Katherine Brunt was absolutely smashing it!! She deserved much more recognition.

CricketFan77 June 14, 2023 - 8:56 am

Why is it always the men’s sport getting all the glory? the women’s team won too and yet, they were basically forgotten.

AndrewT June 14, 2023 - 5:14 pm

Ashes 2005, great time for England, both the men’s and women’s teams. We need to celebrate our sporting heroes, regardless of gender.

StacyH June 14, 2023 - 6:18 pm

Clare Connor is a legend. I still can’t believe she was the only one who got a CBE, rest of the team deserved more…

Mike1985 June 14, 2023 - 6:28 pm

Dang! i didn’t even know the ladies had won in 2005 too. Media was all about the lads back then. Good on them!

GrahamL June 15, 2023 - 1:42 am

About time the women’s victory was talked about. They put up a heck of a fight and showed real class. hats off to them!


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