KATE Cross is hoping a Twitter storm around her friend Alex Hartley is a watershed moment for online abuse.

The Bury cricket star’s former England team-mate and Lancashire colleague took to Twitter to advertise the women’s one-day international clash with New Zealand after the England men’s side slipped to a two-day Test defeat against India at the end of last month.

“Nice of the England boys to get this test match finished just before England Women play tonight,” Hartley wrote with four clapping emojis. “Catch them on @btsportcricket.”

Test opener Rory Burns, in a tweet liked by James Anderson and Ben Stokes but later deleted, wrote: “Very disappointing attitude considering all the ‘boys’ do to support the women’s game.”

Nottinghamshire batsman Ben Duckett, who won four caps for England and played his last Test in 2016, joined in by calling it an “average tweet”.

Hartley, who with Cross produces the No Balls Cricket podcast, insists the tweet was purely tongue-in-cheek, but has received a barrage of social media abuse including someone telling her to “go and die in a hole”.

In their latest podcast, Cross leapt to her friend’s defence and urged users to consider the potential impact of their messages.

“You sent me one and it was just swear word after swear word, an abusive personal attack,” Cross, part of the England squad in New Zealand, said.

“That’s the side that everyone hates about social media. There’s the anonymity around the fact that no-one knows who you are.

“You say those words and unless you know that person and what kind of mental state they’re in you don’t know how those words are going to affect that person.

“Thankfully you are very robust but just imagine if you were in the mental state you were in a year ago. What could this have done to you?”

More than anything, the 29-year-old daughter of former Shakers striker David, hopes that it is the kind of incident that will prompt people to think again before posting.

“People are now talking about this and you can only hope that something better comes of it and maybe some awareness is raised about some of the things we talk about quite frequently,” Cross said.

“We always discuss this type of stuff (on the podcast). Hopefully now it’s been shown to the wider world.

“We’re in such a bad time at the moment, no-one is at their


“Be kind to each other, support each other, if you don’t like women’s cricket, you don’t need to talk about it, just go and find something that you do support and support it.

“Don’t put other people down, it’s just not necessary.”