Bill Bowes

WILLIAM ERIC BOWES, the Yorkshire fast bowler who, with his colleague, Verity, helped so considerably towards the success of his county in carrying off the Championship last season, was born at Elland on July 25, 1908.

Curiously enough, his introduction to county cricket was not, like that of so many men, direct. He played first for the Armley Park Council School, and the West Leeds High School, and afterwards took part in Yorkshire Council cricket for Kirkstall Educational. Although he had been at the nets at Leeds under George Hirst, very little was known of him in Yorkshire until he began to attract attention by some useful performances for the M.C.C.

He came to Lord's in 1928 in answer to the advertisement sent out by the Marylebone Club when they decided to get together as a staff at Lord's a number of young cricketers. In his first year there he earned fame by doing the hat-trick for the Club against Cambridge University. So promising was his form that, in the following year, the Marylebone Club entered into a nine years' agreement with him.

Naturally his doings soon came to the ears of the Yorkshire authorities and leave was obtained for him to assist the County when circumstances permitted. M.C.C. acted very generously in the matter and in 1929 Bowes, bowling in thirteen innings for Yorkshire and taking forty wickets, finished second to Rhodes with an average of 17.

In the following season his services were still further utilised by the county and he again finished second in the bowling averages, obtaining seventy-six wickets for less than 17½ runs apiece.

Last summer he was just behind Verity, with 109 wickets at a cost of under 15½ runs each and, in addition to the many matches he played for Yorkshire, he appeared for the Players against the Gentlemen both at the Oval and at Lord's.

By this time it was well recognised that in Bowes, Yorkshire and the M.C.C. possessed between them a fast bowler of considerable ability. In the course of the summer he credited himself with many fine performances and at the end of the season came to be looked upon as only second to Larwood in his particular class.

Bowes plays in glasses but that apparently is little or no handicap to him. Tall and somewhat loosely-built -- in fact almost angular -- he does not at first sight create the impression of being a likely kind of bowler but as to his powers there can be no question. With a high action he makes the ball swerve, but he owes most of his success to the manner in which he is able to get pace off the ground, together with a decided lift.

On a wicket with any life in it he can be most effective and he is very good at dismissing one or two batsmen to begin with, while few bowlers are more likely to break up a partnership, say, late in the day by one of these balls which come fast off the turf and get up among the knuckles of an opponent's hand. Still young and strong, there seems every reason to anticipate further honours for this very useful and promising cricketer.

© John Wisden & Co