Freddie’s still the king of the swingers

Andrew Flintoff - Slaley Hall shootout
Andrew Flintoff - Slaley Hall shootout
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FORMER Lancashire and England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff may have retired from wielding the bat – but as our picture shows he can swing a pretty mean golf club.

He was taking part in a charity shoot-out at the Slaley Hall course in Hexham this week- and there was a famous blast from Blackpool FC’s past also taking part.

It was none other than Billy Rafferty, a bustling centre-forward, who was a popular character during his stay at Bloomfield Road from 1972 to 1974.

Now 60, Rafferty made 36 appearances for the Seasiders, netting nine goals.

He is perhaps best known in football for his successful strike partnership at Plymouth Argyle with Paul Mariner.

Glasgow-born Rafferty also played for Carlisle, Wolves, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Bournemouth when Harry Redknapp was the manager.

This week, he linked up with Redknapp again at Slaley Hall – the Spurs boss was one of the former footballers taking part in the competition, with Rafferty part of the line-up from the world of football.

The pro-am format pitted a team of cricketing legends against a team of former footballers.

Among the cricketers taking part were England Test stars Paul Collingwood, Darren Gough, Steve Harmison, Graeme Hick and Graham Onions.

The football fraternity included Harry Redknapp, his son Jamie, Clive Allen, Peter Beardsley and Kevin Bond.

Golfers Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance also took part.

Flintoff said of his golfing experience: “I wasn’t that nervous when I played for England in the Ashes – it was terrifying!

“But I really enjoyed it, and it was a pleasure to play with Ian and Sam. Woosie gave me a few tips, so hopefully I can take them on board and get my handicap down.

“Harry thought I was a bandit playing off 24, but now that he’s seen me in action, he knows better!”

The par three shoot-out took place before the start of the £250,000 De Vere Club PGA Seniors Championship.

Torrance said: “It’s been great fun, and the perfect way to start the week. This is our flagship event so it’s a big week.”

Even though Flintoff has retired from cricket, he still has a busy diary.

He appears on a comedy panel quiz on Sky and also fronts a Radio Five Live programme, as well as advertising work. Flintoff is also lending his weight to the campaign for Lancashire to get the go-ahead for their plan to re-develop Old Trafford.

The latest legal challenge to Lancashire’s ambitious plans by Isle of Man-based Albert Gubay’s Derwent Holdings, owner of the nearby White City retail park, has now reached the Court of Appeal, with the hearing set for July 4.

A Facebook campaign has started to back Lancashire’s proposals has begin and Flintoff is urging his many followers on Twitter to support it.

He said: “I’ve started Tweeting about this case because all cricket fans should know that the re-development of Old Trafford is crucial to the future of the club, and for Ashes and Test cricket in the North West.

“Albert Gubay said on BBC TV that he was worth £1billion.

“Is he intent on squeezing the life out of Lancashire County Cricket Club?

“Is he trying to break the hearts of hundreds of thousands of sport lovers all over the world and cricket fans in the North West?”

Lancashire’s development plans include £32m of investment in new pitches, stands, state-of-the-art player and media facilities and an extension to the ground’s indoor cricket school and public areas.

Two new grandstands and a refurbished pavilion will make a capacity of 15,000, capable of rising to 25,000.