July the 9th marks the 39th anniversary of the death of Ted Bowley, one of the unsung heroes of Sussex cricket in the last century.
There may have been more glamorous batsmen in Sussex’s history but Bowley was a remarkably consistent player who holds two records that are unlikely to ever be beaten.
In 1933, Bowley and John Langridge put together a first wicket stand in a match against Middlesex at Hove of 490 runs, the highest partnership for any wicket in the county’s history. Langridge, already featured in a Throwback Blog, was the most formidable scorer in Sussex’s history but that day Bowley matched him shot for shot in an innings of 228. He was a terrific back-foot player who, on his day, could take any spinner apart.
There have only been seven bigger partnerships in the history of first-class cricket.
Seven years earlier, Bowley had helped Maurice Tate take 385 off the Northamptonshire attack, also at Hove. It remains the highest second-wicket stand in Sussex’s history.
Bowley is one of only six Sussex batsmen to score 25,000 runs or more. His aggregate of 25,439 came between 1912-1934 and the First World War arguably robbed him of some of his best years.
His best season was in 1929 when he made his highest score, 280 against Gloucestershire, in a day. He played for England five times and scored a century against New Zealand at Auckland in 1930. By then he was 40 years old and past his prime, although he did play for Sussex four more seasons.
After he retired Bowley taught at Winchester School for 23 years. He died in the town in 1974.