Keen cricketer and former umpire Jack celebrates a century of his own!

Jack FretwellJack Fretwell
Jack Fretwell
A FORMER railway worker, army sergeant and teacher who also gained the attention of Yorkshire County Cricket Club has celebrated a century of his own.

Jack Fretwell, a resident at Wentworth Hall Care Home, celebrated his 100th Birthday with a gathering of close friends and family at Piccadilly Methodist Church in Swinton.

Born in Mexborough in December 1923, Jack attended Mexborough Grammar School and later worked as a railway clerk at Kilnhurst railway station, also receiving attention for his skills with Mexborough Athletic Cricket Club.

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In 1941 he was called up for the army, serving in North Africa and Italy.

Demobbed in 1946 as staff sergeant, he returned to both railway work and cricket for Mexborough.

Son Alan Fretwell said: “His skills as leg spin and googly bowler were noticed by Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“He played for Yorkshire 2nd XI, still working for the railways and married my mum Mary in 1949.

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“By 1951 he was father to my sister Margaret and on the verge of Yorkshire’s first team.

“Sadly it was a chance he had to forgo as British Rail issued an ultimatum – 'Choose cricket or a steady job!'

“With a wife and family to support, he chose the steady job and by 1957 the family was complete – Margaret, me, and my sister Barbara.

Jack later left British Rail in 1967 to train as a teacher, working at Bolton-on-Dearne Primary School and Wath Central Primary until retiring in 1988.

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“As a local league cricketer he enjoyed great success with Rawmarsh Cricket Club in the Yorkshire League then Mexborough in the Yorkshire Council,” said Alan.

“A highlight was playing against Yorkshire in a Geoff Boycott benefit match in 1973, taking five wickets for 84 runs.”

Jack played cricket until he was 67, then served as an umpire in the Doncaster League.

Wife Mary died in 2014 aged 93, the same year the family also sadly lost eldest daughter Margaret.

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Alan added: “Dad lives at Wentworth Hall Care Home, where he has spent the last two very happy years.

“They also put on a splendid birthday party for him including a Vera Lynn tribute act providing excellent entertainment.”