Tuesday, March 16, 1999 Published at 19:10 GMT
MCC delivers first 10 maidens
Tony Lewis welcomes Diana Rait Kerr into the Long Room
The Marylebone Cricket Club has revealed its first 10 female members - ending 212 years of male exclusivity.
The club, based at Lord's, in London's St John's Wood, finally voted in favour of admitting women in a ballot of members last September.
The room had been barred to all women except the Queen - the club's official patron.
MCC president Tony Lewis said it was "without doubt, an historic moment".
Former England women's captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint, a campaigner for the admission of women to the MCC since 1991, was one of the 10.
She told reporters: "I might be referred to as the catalyst, who in 1991 had the temerity to apply to become a member."
She said she intended to be an active member, attending many matches, and contributing in any other way possible.
Nothing to do with money
Mr Lewis, a former England captain, denied the vote was inspired by political correctness demanded by potential sponsors.
An original ballot in February last year failed to win a two-thirds majority.
But pressure from lobby groups and the government forced a second vote, where a 70% majority overturned the rule.
Now any woman, provided she has the right cricketing credentials, can become a member of the MCC.
But she will have to play 15 qualifying matches over two years, unless she is deemed to be an "outstanding" cricketer.
In that case, she only has to promise to play 10 days in two years for the club.
There will be further honorary members but "ordinary" female cricket lovers will have to join the end of a 20-year waiting list.
The first officially sanctioned MCC women's team will play its first match on 11 May in East Molesey, Surrey.
The first 10 members: