Foxes Flashback - Paddy Corrall
Paddy Corrall (born 16th July 1906)
Paddy Corrall spent much of his working life involved in cricket. He had several setbacks in his cricketing career, but he always seemed ready to help out when he was required to do so.
His debut for Leicestershire was ‘spectacular’. He put on 112 for the 9th wicket with George Geary. He contributed just four singles to the partnership which lasted two hours. In 1931 he was part of the 2nd XI team that won the Minor Counties championship, which was the first time that the county club had won ‘anything’ except the wooden spoon since becoming first class.
He finally got his chance to play regularly in 1932 and quickly received his cap. All was going well until July the following summer, when keeping wicket against Lancashire, Astill tossed up a high ball which Washbrook swung around to hit, striking Paddy with his bat above his left ear, leaving him motionless. As a result, play was abandoned for the day and he was taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary where they discovered that he had fractured his skull.
He was fit to resume duties the following summer, and there he remained until he broke a finger and the youthful George Dawkes took over in 1937. So promising were Dawkes’ performances that with an eye on costs, Paddy was not re engaged for 1938. He commented “I have had my skull fractured, my collar bone broken, and my finger broken in the service of Leicestershire cricket and I must say I am surprised at what has now happened”.
A Skelding & P Corrall
His enthusiasm for cricket was undimmed though, and 1939 saw him turning out for Wigston Primitive Methodists in the Mutual League.
War service took him to India, and he played two high profile matches at the famous test ground, the Bradbourne Stadium in Bombay with the like of Denis Compton and Reg Simpson. In the second of which he kept through a 4th wicket partnership of 382.
The war ended and Leicestershire were seeking to collect together a team for 1946. Paddy was not amongst the original list; the problem was first choice keeper George Dawkes was still in the RAF and unavailable. The almost untried West Indian Freddie Gibson was the reserve wicket keeper, but on 1st April 1946, Paddy signed again, and started his final 6-year spell with the county and a famous ‘keeper slow bowler’ partnership with Jack Walsh.
He dismissed 570 batsmen (382 catches, 188 stumpings) in his career. The high number of stumpings being due to the confusion caused by Jack Walsh’s googlies in the post war seasons and is a record for a Leicestershire wicket keeper. Against Sussex at Hove in 1936, he helped dismiss 10 batsmen (10 catches, 3 stumpings), the match record for the county.
He had a fitting finale! Jack Firth had largely taken over and he played just one county match in 1951, and two last wicket partnerships won the match for Leicestershire. In the first innings, his partnership of 32 with Jim Sperry brought the county to within 23 of Worcestershire’s total. In the second, Charles Palmer, and then Charles Wooler got out with just two required, one wicket to fall and 6 minutes before stumps.
Paddy tied the scores with a single, and then Jim Sperry won the match with a final blow. The two ‘old timers’ (aged 45 and 41 respectively) were going out in style.
Paddy then became a first-class umpire until the end of the 1957 season. He was also ‘mine host’ at the Rifle Butts Public House, situated on ground that became part of the Royal Infirmary site. It was a popular sporting pub, and its genial ‘tee total’ publican in his element.
Richard Holdridge - Club Historian