Jan Brittin Dies
It was with a very heavy heart that I heard of the death of Jan
Brittin aged just 58.
Just three years after watching my first women's cricket match I
decided that a day at a Test Match starting at Guildford would
re-introduce me to the sport. Little did I know that two of the people
I would watch that day would be instrumental in my watching hundreds
of matches thereafter. The World Cup Final of 1993 played at Lord's
had whetted my appetite but it was this match that made me a convert.
Walking out to bat, following New Zealand's first innings of 362/5
declared went Jan Brittin ("JB") at left and a young Charlotte Edwards
making her Test Match debut.
Jan Brittin and Charlotte Edwards open for England -- photo © Carol
A rather younger me, complete with binoculars, at left, unaware the
picture was being taken
Jan made a half century and Charlotte a creditable 34.
I was to watch Jan a number of times after that, both at club and
international level. On the field she always seemed cool, composed,
and thoughtful. She always acknowledged my presence on the boundary,
and encouraged me to keep watching the sport. She was in a class of
her own in both skill and courage.
Reading her stats, impressive as they are considering the very small
number of games played in her era, will not give you a picture of JB.
She was as elegant and complete a batsman as you will ever watch, and
dogged in defence and unflappable in any situation. Her courage was
One of her fellow 1993 World Cup winners summed up JB more accurately
and succinctly than I ever could.
"She was great as a player and as a person. So unassuming about her
immense ability. [She was] intelligent and always supportive"
A former Indian captain : "I used to adore her... I had the good
fortune of playing against her"
Barbara Daniels "The best I ever played with or
against, and a truly lovely person"
Anya Shrubsole "Someone whose skill and passion
for the game inspired many including me"
For myself, it is hard to realise we will never meet on a boundary
again. I owe her more than I was ever able to tell her.
I have described this blog frequently as a "Ramble with Diversions" -
and since we haven't had a diversion for a while, and to distract me
from the awful news above this note - here is one.
On my way to Finals' Day at Hove a week or two ago I decide to park in
a multi-storey nearby. That in itself was something of a diversion as
by the time I reached the top open-air level it wasn't just my head
that was spinning. Anyway I managed to locate a spot there and went to
pay at the machine. In front of me a family with a couple of kids, and
patently on their way to the match too, were struggling. I noted their
western hemisphere accent and the Canadian flag on one of their
number's clothing and they finally managed to pay. They paid using a
credit card. Stepping up to the machine, coins in hand, I noted the
LCD screen displaying the instructions. It was telling me what to do
but not in English. Having passable, but very schoolboy French I
recognised the language and figured what I was supposed to do. During
the process, which included typing in my number plate, it continued in
This rather intrigued me. I was left with a couple of possible
scenarios and would be fascinated to know which might be true. If you
can figure this out, please press the 'contact button' on the menu
above left and let me know.
1. The machine has simply glitched.
2. The couple in front of me were French Canadian and the machine was
clever enough to work this out from the credit card they inserted. If
this was the case then that might be excellent technology except that
it should also be bright enough to know that the next customer
probably wouldn't be French or speak it as their main language. At the
end of the transaction it should revert to English. Since I wasn't
inserting a card, but paying in cash, it happily ploughed on in
3. An explanation I haven't thought of...
As I departed with my ticket I warned the people next in the queue and
should have stopped to see how it went from there. I failed to do so,
so the mystery remains.
Even telling this rather odd story, can't, I'm afraid, divert me from
the news about 'JB'. In fact it reminds me that the last time I had a
conversation with her was on the very level at the ground that I spent
most of my time photographing on Finals' Day. Visiting Hove will never
be quite the same again.