In the first in a series of Women's World Cup-themed blogs, here are some little-known facts about previous World Cups which I have come across in the course of my research. Enjoy!
1. The first World Cup "final", held at Edgbaston in July 1973, was not really a final at all. The tournament was essentially a round robin, with each team playing every other team once. 4 points were gained for a victory and 1 point for a tie, and the team with the most points would win. It was simply a lucky coincidence that the outcome of the tournament did in fact hinge on the outcome of the final tournament match, played between England and Australia.
2. Men were not permitted to umpire in the first World Cup. The two umpires in the final were Jane Ayres and Sheila Hill (later Chairman of the Association of Cricket Umpires).
3. The second World Cup (staged in India in January 1978) was originally to have been held in South Africa. For obvious reasons, this was later discounted as a venue by the International Women's Cricket Council.
4. Dickie Bird was one of the umpires used during the third World Cup (held in New Zealand in 1982).
5. The MCC refused the Women's Cricket Association's request to hold the 1973 World Cup final at Lord's.
6. The 1993 World Cup, held in England, was almost cancelled due to a lack of available funds. Luckily the Foundation for Sport and the Arts saved the day with a last minute donation of £90,000.
7. After the Australians won the 1997 World Cup, and it became more widely known that they had each paid $700 to take part, a hotel owner in Bendigo, Victoria, donated $15,000 towards their costs. Cathryn Fitzpatrick, the team's star fast bowler, said simply: "We'll be heading up to his pub for a few celebratory beers."
8. New Zealand's captain, Emily Drumm, played the entire 2000 tournament with a broken finger. (Take note, David Warner.) The upside was that New Zealand were triumphant in the final, winning by 4 runs.
9. The price of tickets to 2005 World Cup matches in South Africa was just R20 (£1.80). I think they may have been worried about low turnout...
10. (This is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE.) Before the 1993 tournament kicked off, there was some debate amongst teams over the appropriate length of intervals. Eventually it was agreed that the tea interval would be 20 minutes - BUT the umpires were empowered to extend this to 30 minutes if desired. Why might this have been necessary? Apparently the female toilet facilities at some grounds were "lamentably inadequate". You get the idea.