A profile of Monty Bowden
by Dave Liverman

Player:MP Bowden

Monty Bowden was England's youngest ever Test captain at 23 years 144 days when he took over from C.Aubrey-Smith for the Second Test of England's first ever tour of South Africa in 1888/89. At the time these matches had little importance attached to them - so little in fact that his captaincy was not mentioned in his brief obituary in Wisden. He made his debut for Surrey in 1883, and showed great initial promise which was never fully realised. A useful right hand bat and wicket-keeper, his best season was in 1888, when he averaged over 30, and played for the Gentlemen against the Players at Lord's and the Oval, and for the Gentlemen against Australia at Lord's. He had a good tour of South Africa, despite being run out for a duck on his Test debut, and presided over a comfortable win when Johnny Briggs destroyed the South African batting in his Test as captain. He enjoyed South Africa so much that he, and Aubrey-Smith stayed on at the end of the tour and set up a stock-broking partnership. He represented Transvaal in South African first-class cricket, and made 63 and 126* in the first Currie Cup challenge match. Shortly afterwards he traveled north to what is now Zimbabwe with Cecil Rhodes Pioneer column, and settled there, before dying in Umtali Hospital - a glorified mud hut where his body had to be protected from marauding lions prior to being interred in a coffin made from whiskey cases.

(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)


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