Oldest living international cricketer, Eileen Ash, takes to skies on 106th birthday
England Women veteran Ash emulates David Gower's Tiger Moth exploits from 1991 Ashes - by soaring over Norfolk!
Last Updated: 06/11/17 5:42am
Eileen Ash, the oldest living international cricketer, celebrated her 106th birthday on Monday - by taking to the skies in a Tiger Moth!
Ash played seven Tests for England Women either side of World War II, making her debut in the first Test to be staged in England, against Australia in Northampton 80 years ago.
Ash, formerly Eileen Whelan, turned 106 in style by emulating David Gower's Tiger Moth flight from the 1991 Ashes - albeit soaring over her home county of Norfolk, as opposed to Queensland!
"I absolutely loved it. It was heavenly, I could've lived up there," beamed Ash upon landing, before insisting that instead of a sit down she'd "rather have a drink!"
"It was better than bumpy roads in your car. I'd like to go back again now. I enjoyed my 100th birthday but this one was better. I didn't have anything as exciting as this. I thought I'd better not take hold of the controls. Maybe he'll take us to Lord's next year."
Ash was at Lord's on July 23, though, to not only witness England Women win the 2017 World Cup but also to ring the traditional five-minute bell before play, a job she says brought back memories.
“I was carrying my bag across Liverpool Street Station and this lady came up to me and said ‘you’re disgraceful going off to play a cricket match when there’s a war on’. I was most upset.”
"When I was ringing the bell I thought of our skipper (Molly Hide). She was very elegant at the wicket. Her cover drives were a joy to watch," said Ash, who took 10 wickets for England.
"We were just fighting to get women's cricket on the map back then. It was hard work but we got there in the end. Now it's all so different but it was worth all those years pioneering."
Reflecting on England's 2017 triumph, secured thanks to Anya Shrubsole's 6-46, Ash added: "It was so exciting. The skipper (Heather Knight) kept Shrubsole on and she didn't fail the team."
Watch Ash's Tiger Moth flight in the video at the top of the page - and follow the current England side's fortunes in the Women's Ashes across Sky Sports' digital platforms.