Theresa May has hailed a “watershed summer” for women’s sport as she welcomed England’s female cricket and rugby teams to Number 10.
Skipper Heather Knight led England’s cricketers to victory in the Women’s World Cup in July while their rugby-playing counterparts finished as runners-up after losing a thrilling final to New Zealand last week.
Prime Minister Mrs May said both England teams had contributed to a “breakthrough moment” for female sport.
She said: “It has been a watershed summer for women’s sport in our country and it was a great honour to welcome two teams, whose achievements have been such an important part of this breakthrough moment, to Downing Street today.
“Interest in women’s sports is at an all-time high and with record attendances and huge global interest, I hope we can seize this opportunity to grow women and girls’ sport in communities across the length and breadth of the land.”
She told the two teams: “I am incredibly proud that, with you, our nation can call on such wonderful ambassadors for young women and girls today.”
England cricketer Anya Shrubsole – player of the match in the final after taking six Indian wickets – said: “Growing up, you see successful sportspeople visiting the Prime Minister and it feels a million miles away. To be here today is an indication of how far women’s cricket has come.”
England women’s rugby team captain Sarah Hunter said: “It’s been an honour to be invited to attend the reception in Downing Street today to celebrate what has been an exciting summer of women’s sport.
“While as a team we are disappointed not to have brought the World Cup home, we are proud of everything that we have achieved this year in showcasing women’s rugby.
“Hopefully, we have played a part in inspiring the next generation to get involved and give rugby a go.”