WOMEN’S cricket returned to Bradford’s revamped Park Avenue ground for the first time in nearly four decades yesterday as the Bowling Out Gender Inequality campaign clash got underway.

The community cricket festival, held in partnership with the armed forces, was held to highlight the importance of community cohesion, promote positive health, tolerance and encourage gender inequality.

The T20, or 20 overs, 11-a-side contest, saw UK Armed Forces (UKAF) Ladies take on an all Asian ladies side.

The annual game, now in its third year, has previously been played at Headingley and The Royal Chelsea Gardens, Burton Court.

And the day, organised by the Opening Boundaries programme, was a historic one as the Park Avenue ground has not hosted a women’s match since 1981, when women’s cricket legends Baroness Heyhoe-Flint and Janette Brittin faced off for their respective club sides in a national knock-out match.

The ground was also one of the venues in the first ever Women’s World Cup where Heyhoe-Flint’s England women beat Jamaica on their way to winning the tournament in 1973.

Over the coming years, the ground is hoping to host England women’s internationals, Yorkshire Diamonds fixtures, England Disability cricket and a one-day Yorkshire match every year.

Halima Khan, Opening Boundaries managing director, said the event was about raising awareness of women in cricket - on and off the field of play and highlighting the unifying nature of sport in general.

She said there is “still a long way to go” and added: “We are trying to engage with local communities at a grassroots level, to engage and inspire them to realise their potential through sport, regardless of their background, their faith, their belief, everyone’s here, learning about each other and understanding each other, regardless of their background.

“We want to try and encourage that generation to to come through and realise that sport is something they can take up.”

She added both women and girls and boys and men were in attendance and said:

“It’s great to see them playing together, working together.”

“It’s that whole kind of purpose of what we are doing - we really are bowling out gender inequality and we are showing that it’s an equal playing field for everyone.”