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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Fury over MCC president remarks
Clare Connor
Connor was the first girl to play for the Brighton First XI
New MCC president Robin Marlar has sparked controversy in the women's game days after succeeding Tom Graveney.

Marlar told The Telegraph "it's absolutely outrageous" women were allowed to play mixed cricket in case they got injured.

Asked for his view if a girl bowled at 80mph he said: "I'd be asking about whether she's had a sex change."

England women's captain Clare Connor said the remarks were: "absurd, old-fashioned and patronising."

Connor who became the first women to play for the Brighton First XI in 1993, added: "It is unacceptable and raises questions about his suitability for the job."

This summer Holly Colvin and Sarah Taylor both played in the Brighton College men's First XI and Colvin was later called into the England squad.

My firm belief is that boys and girls should not face each other in high-level competitive games
Robin Marlar

Within days of taking up his new post, Marlar, the 74-year-old former Sussex player, said: "The MCC's view is that mixed cricket at adult level doesn't happen.

"If there's an 18-year-old fast bowler who can bowl at 80mph then he shouldn't want to hurt a lady at any cost."

Former England women's captain Rachel Heyhoe-Flint, the first women named on the MCC commitee, played down the matter.

"Robin is just being a gentleman," she insisted.

"He has some anxieties about a girl playing in a match reaching a tense conclusion and worrying if a male bowler will stick in a short ball."

Marlar later attempted to clarify his remarks and said: "I am committed to encouraging as many boys and girls as possible to start playing cricket.

"My firm belief is that boys and girls should not face each other in high-level competitive games and in this respect I believe our sport should adopt exactly the same approach as football, rugby and many others.

"I am proud that the club is doing more than ever before to promote cricket to as many children as possible, to develop women's cricket through our women's teams."


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