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England cricketer pulled Brierley Hill dad from wrecked van

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 18, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Worcestershire and England bowler Jack Flavell

  • Above: Reg Corbett worked for the Post Office in the Black Country for many years

  • This news clipping shows the damage to Reg's Post Office van

  • Remarkably, Reg was uninjured in the crash

  • Letter from Jack Flavell to Reg Corbett on his 60th birthday

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DO you recall the photographs of a 1930s road accident in our April 10 edition? Clive Corbett of Kingswinford has sent in some pictures of a crash involving his father in the 1960s. Fortunately, his father was unscathed but the accident led to his meeting one of the top sports stars of the day who by chance was the first on the scene.

Clive writes, "I hope that readers will be interested to read a story concerning my father, Reg Corbett.

"It was in January 1963, on an icy Saturday, when he was involved in a near fatal road crash. His Post Office van was hit by a Male and Son lorry, driven by Mr H.A. Brown, on Pensnett High Street, near the High Oak.

"Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. The Express and Star headline ran, 'Oh so very lucky', next to a picture of the mangled van. Worcestershire and England cricketer Jack Flavell was first on the scene to help to pull Dad clear

"Having lived to fight another day, Reg wisely decided to apply for counter work with the Post Office, working first at Dudley, in September 1963, then Brierley Hill a year later.

"In 1965 Reg began four years of work as a TV and Wireless Enquiry Officer, where he and colleagues, notably Dave Potts, were unwelcome visitors to many exotic areas of the Black Country, including the 'Lost City' of Tipton.

"Reg finished his working days as postmaster of his beloved Brierley Hill.

"John Alfred 'Jack' Flavell was born in Wall Heath on May 15, 1929. After turning down the offer of a contract at Warwickshire, Flavell played for Worcestershire career from 1949 as an out and out fast bowler, earning himself the nickname of 'Mad Jack'. He spent his entire county cricket career at New Road, helping the club to win two County Championship titles.

Flavell's new ball bowling partnership with Len Coldwell was one of the most feared and respected in the 1960s and he claimed 100 wickets or more in a season on eight occasions, and topped the averages in 1961, when he took 171 wickets at 17.79.

"In Worcestershire's two championship winning campaigns, he took 101 wickets in 1964, and 132 in 1965.

"He represented England in just four test matches, against Australia in 1961 and 1964, and was unlucky to play in an era when England could call on Fred Trueman, Brian Statham and Frank Tyson. The famous cricketing writer, E.W. Swanton, wrote that, 'Among first-class cricketers as many hold the view that Flavell is the best opening bowler in the country as do the same for Statham'.

"Jack's benefit in 1963 brought him a county record of £6,480 and he was one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in 1965.

"After retirement, with his wife Marie, he first ran the Rafters Restaurant in Claverley, and then the Panorama Hotel in Barmouth, North Wales. It was on their headed notepaper that Jack wrote a kind message on the occasion of a This is Your Life party that we arranged for Dad's 60th birthday in 1993. He also sent a signed photograph of him in his Worcestershire heyday.

"Jack died in his sleep in Barmouth on February 25, 2004, at the age of 74. Our family will always remember his kindness, both in 1963 and 30 years later."

Have you, or anyone in your family, ever had an unusual encounter with a sports personality? Please contact us and share the story, email editor@blackcountrybugle.co.uk, drop us a line at 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL, or call 01384 567678.

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