One of New South Wales most respected female cricketers Lorna Thomas MBE passed away peacefully on Wednesday 17 Semptember 2014, aged 96. A very sad day for cricket, we have lost an elegant leader, pioneering player and friend.
Born in 1917 Lorna began playing cricket as a child in the 1920s and moved into district matches with the Annandale club.
A medium-paced bowler and a hard-hitting opening bat, she represented N.S.W. from 1939 to 1949, playing against NZ in 1946-47 and against England in 1948-49. In 1960 Lorna took up team management and went on to manage five international teams including four overseas tours. She was affectionately known as ‘Auntie Lorna’ to many of the players because of her caring and compassionate nature.
During a time of change in society the 1963 tourists were pioneers for women’s cricket under the leadership of the late Mary Loy (nee Allitt) and manager Lorna Thomas. This was the first tour of England by a female team in 12 years. This team was also the first women’s side (either Australian or English) to be invited by the committee of the MCC to dine with committee members in the famous ‘Long Room’ at Lord’s. Lorna Thomas was also one of the first women admitted to membership of the MCC.
In addition Lorna managed the 1973 and 1976 teams to England and the West Indies and the Australian team which met New Zealand in Melbourne in 1972. She was also team manager in 1973 when Australia played in the inaugural Women’s World Cup in England. In the role of manager she always paid her own way.
Boasting a cricket-playing career of over half a century Lorna was major force in women’s cricket for more than seventy years. In 1978 she retired from her position as manager of the NSW and Australian teams. She was awarded the MBE for services to cricket and was also made a life member of Women’s Cricket Australia.
She is survived by her son Robert and his family to whom we send our condolences.