England cricket legend Freddie Flintoff finally got a signed photo from snooker icon Steve Davis after waiting 40 years.
The 43-year-old, who recently played bingo alongside A League of their Own co-star Jamie Redknapp and world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in Morecambe, took to social media to express his delight.
“Finally got this signed off one of my hero’s after waiting 40 years,” Flintoff wrote on Twitter. “@SteveSnooker thank you.”
Flintoff – who remarkably won his one and only professional boxing bout when he defeated Richard Dawson on points – made his England debut in 1998 before retiring from international cricket at the age of 29 in 2009 as he was plagued by injury.
The all-rounder delayed having another operation in order to feature in the 2009 Ashes series against Australia and he played as England regained the famous urn.
At a doctor’s appointment ahead of the second Test, he was told that he needed to have another operation immediately and miss the rest of the series or risk doing potentially irreversible damage to the injury.
Despite the risks, Flintoff decided to continue playing in the Ashes and announced that he would be retiring from Test cricket at the end of the series before the second Test at Lord's.
Flintoff subsequently picked up just his third Test match five-wicket haul to lead England to win the game by 115 runs and take the lead in the series.
He followed it up with an exceptional 74 in the drawn Test at Edgbaston, before missing the fourth Test at Headingley.
Flintoff returned for the final Test at the Oval and produced an iconic moment when he ran out Australia captain Ricky Ponting to ensure England won both the game and the series to regain the Ashes.
Davis is a popular sporting hero and it is understandable he influenced Flintoff, as he dominated snooker in the 1980s.
Davis reached eight World Snooker Championship finals in nine years – winning six – and holding the world number one ranking for seven straight seasons.
Davis won the UK Championship six times and the Masters three, and his total of 15 Triple Crown titles places him third on the all-time list behind Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry.
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