World Cup winner Ruth Prideaux was a cricket coach ahead of her time

Ruth Prideaux, a former England wicketkeeper-batsman and England women's first full-time head coach, died last week aged 85.

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 2:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:59 pm
England celebrate with coach Ruth Prideaux (fifth from right) on the Lords balcony after winning the 1993 World Cup © PA Photos

Ruth gained 11 Test caps for England between 1957 and 1963 and scored 476 runs for the national side.

Her career as a player was impressive but it was her skills as a coach that helped England become leaders in the women’s game culminating in a World Cup triumph against New Zealand at Lord’s in 1993.

Ruth was a forward-thinking coach and was one of the first to apply sport science to elite level cricket. She brought in a backroom team that included, sport scientists, nutritionists, physios and sports psychologists.

All fairly standard in today’s sporting world but rarely seen in cricket in the 80’s and never before in women’s cricket.

Speaking to the Herald in 2012 Ruth said, ““We had a wonderful squad of players. The morale of the team was superb and they played some of their best cricket during that World Cup. To win the tournament at Lord’s was something very special and is an achievement we are all very proud of.”

Ruth was a key member of the all-conquering England women’s cricket team of the late 1950’s and early 60’s that toured, took on the world and, more often than not, won.

New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka were all dispatched along the way during a distinguished playing career. Ruth took a break from the game in 1963 where she got married and had four children. However, sport was never far from her radar and she returned to cricket as the England coach in 1987.

Ruth retired from the international arena after the World Cup, moved to Eastbourne and began teaching sport science at the University of Brighton.

She was also regularly seen passing on her wealth of cricket knowledge around the local schools, at Eastbourne Cricket Club and at Sussex Cricket Club where she was a coach and a member of the committee.

She is survived by her husband, Roger Prideaux, who also played three Tests for England between 1968 and 1969.