Women’s sport within the UK is “at the highest point it has ever been”, based on former cricketer Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent as she collected her MBE at Windsor Castle.
Rainford-Brent, now a commentator, was joined by England Women’s Six Nations rugby star Emily Scarratt when receiving their honours from the Prince of Wales on Tuesday.
Speaking after the ceremony, Rainford-Brent stated girls’s cricket had come a good distance since she began within the sport 28 years in the past.
She stated: “Women’s sport is at the highest point it has ever been and I think actually I feel special seeing both sides of the coin.”
Rainford-Brent was the primary black lady to play for the England crew after captaining the Surrey girls’s crew.
She has since been a pundit for Test Match Special, and was one of many first feminine summarisers to commentate on males’s worldwide cricket matches. She turned a part of Sky Sports’ cricket commentary crew in 2020.
On the way forward for girls’s cricket, Rainford-Brent stated: “I believe consciousness and visibility is beginning to occur. Next is funding.
“I believe when you look from a girls’s sport perspective, we’d like more cash entering into to extend the usual which then will get extra broadcasting after which it sort of creates this cycle.
“I want to see the gender pay gap closed. At the moment, there’s still a huge gap in pay for females. It is closing, but it’s still a long way to go and I would like to see that accelerated.”
Rainford-Brent was additionally recognised for her charity work after launching Surrey’s African-Caribbean Engagement (ACE) programme in January 2020, which goals to encourage black youngsters into cricket.
“I was honoured to be the first black woman to play but I always wanted to make sure that there were more young people that had that chance,” she stated.
“It’s been a long, long journey but I think it’s an honour to be able to see the young people hopefully enjoy cricket and sport as much as it’s given me not just from a professional side, but also just developing yourself as a person.”
Scarratt, 32, arrived in Windsor simply three days after the England aspect received their fourth consecutive Women’s Six Nations title in France.
She described accumulating her MBE as “strange to do by yourself” given the character of the crew sport, however added it was a “huge honour”.
Reflecting on the progress of girls’s rugby over the course of her profession, she stated: “Certainly since after I first began enjoying rugby and within the final nevertheless a few years it’s simply skyrocketed.
“We’ve broken attendance records at every home game we’ve had at this Six Nations, which is crazy, and I know lots of other nations have done the same at their respective venues.”
She added: “Giving these girls an opportunity to give their best by making them professional – we’ve seen the results of it by being professional ourselves – it just makes a massive, massive difference.”