Corbett declares his innings after 300 Tests

Veteran cricket writer Ted Corbett has declared his innings closed, after 300 Tests and 57 years of covering sport.

The SJA member has been cricket correspondent for the Sunday Herald, as well as writing for The Hindu and Sportstar in India, and is known for his past reporting for the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Star, the People and The Scotsman.

He told that he woke up the day after the first one-day international between England and South Africa last month and “suddenly realised I never wanted to see, write about or attend another cricket match”.

Corbett said: “I am not sure just why I came to this decision.

“The Oval Test was my 300th and I guess that was a significant landmark. I am 73 and it is 57 years – almost to the day – since I started as a tea boy in the Coney Street offices of the Yorkshire Evening Press.

“I guess I was also simply tired after a long season. Whatever the reason I was absolutely sure I was making the right decision. Both Richard Hadlee and Ian Botham told me years ago that they were suddenly aware that they had to retire and I guess that after 30 years of cricket I have picked up some of the habits of those old-timers.

“It has of course been a wonderful life – getting paid to take a free seat at some of the most attractive sport on the planet. I have reported rugby league, rugby union, football, and the beginning of the great snooker era as well as cricket and thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of the press box, the friendship of great players, and some of the most sublime moments in sport.

“But even the most exhilarating experiences pale eventually and sometimes the next 700 words seem just 700 too many.

“So you will not see me at a cricket ground again anytime in the next howmany years. Time to write ‘ends’ for the last time and leave sports writing to the next generation, most of whom are terrific journalists, although I fear they face a future of increasing work loads and smaller audiences.”

As he states, Corbett’s first job “in journalism” was as a teenaged teaboy at his local regional evening paper in 1951. He did his National Service as editor of Japan News, the forces newspaper, in Tokyo.

When he returned to York, he did so as a sports writer, soon grabbing his first front-page exclusive on the day of the Stanley Matthews Cup final.

“I was the only reporter in the Evening Press office and got a tip that a man had drowned in the River Ouse. When I left the office, Matthews’s side Blackpool were losing.

“I went to the spot and found an empty police car with its radio blaring full details of the drowning. I phoned those back to the paper – and was told Blackpool had beaten Bolton 4-3. The two stories ran side by side on the front of the sports edition.”

Corbett went on to work for the Daily Herald, the Mirror, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express before becoming cricket correspondent of the Daily Star in 1982. He set up his own sports agency in 1989.

“I have been lucky to work for intelligent sports editors, notably Arthur Lamb and David Balmforth at the Star and Bill Bradshaw and Ed Barry at the People,” he said.

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