Dick Lowe followed his elder brother Sam to South Wales after brief spells in county cricket with his native Nottinghamshire and Sussex, as well as spending time in the Lancashire League with Rishton and Church. Indeed, it was whilst playing for Church in July 1896 that Dick had a trial with Glamorgan and appeared for the Welsh county against the MCC at the Arms Park. Dick had a decent game scoring 41 and taking 5/58 in the MCC’s first innings. Terms were duly agreed with both the Cardiff club and in 1897 he made his first appearance in the Minor County Championship for Glmaorgan.
Dick duly spent the next five years in the Welsh county’s colours, though not without an element of controversy over his bowling action. The all-rounder enjoyed a decent first summer in Glamorgan’s ranks making 487 runs, including scores of 78 against Monmouthshire, plus 86 and 87 in the two games with Wiltshire, besides claiming 22 wickets with his left-arm seam. Dick began 1898 in good form with the ball, claiming 6/41 against Surrey at The Oval, 6/25 against Worcestershire at the Arms Park and then took fourteen wickets in the friendly against the MCC at St. Helen’s.
It was during these games that a few murmurings occurred about his action. Dick had suffered from a shoulder strain during the winter and had slightly altered his action. Several of the Worcestershire batsmen questioned the legitimacy of Dick’s action at Cardiff, but neither of the local umpires took action. Two neutral umpires – Val Titchmarsh and Jim Phillips – were appointed for the return game at New Road, and on the opening day, Dick was called for throwing by square-leg umpire Titchmarsh.
This was the first time this had happened to any bowler in the Minor County Championship and there was plenty of comment in the Press the following morning. On being quizzed by the local hacks about the reason for the call, Titchmarsh stated “when Dick fully raises his left arm above his head, he throws the ball.” With Glamorgan dismissed for 31 and 86, there was not a second chance for Dick to bowl at New Road, and with two local men officiating the next match against Monmouthshire at the Arms Park, the scrutiny of Dick’s action came from the Glamorgan hierarchy assembled in the pavilion.
Dick only bowled fourteen overs against Monmouthshire, plus one more in the next game against Wiltshire, and the fact that he played solely as a batsman for the rest of 1898 indicates that there were some concerns amongst the Welsh county’s ranks. These worries continued in 1899 when Dick was an ever-present in the Glamorgan line-up but again primarily as a batsman, and only bowling a couple of overs all season.
The concerns may have also preyed on Dick’s mind as in 1899 he only passed fifty once in sixteen innings, and with his batting powers seemingly on the wane, he re-modelled his action once again. His new action passed muster in the games during mid-summer against Surrey 2nd XI and the MCC, but although he claimed eight wickets in the match with Berkshire, his bowling was not as effective as before.
1901 duly proved to be his last year of county cricket, and although he was still effective with the bat for Cardiff, Dick failed to pass fifty all summer for Glamorgan and ended with a tally of 163 runs from fifteen innings. His final match of note duly came in mid-August as he appeared against the South Africans, scoring 7 and 0. It was an inglorious end to a career at county level which had offered much, but had been embroiled in controversy.
LOWE, Richard (‘Dick’).
Born – Kirkby-in-Ashfield, 18 June 1869.
Died – Kirkby-in-Ashfield 3 July 1946.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Championship – 87 v Wiltshire at Swindon, 1897 and 6/25 v Worcestershire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1898.
Minor County Friendlies – 65* v MCC at Cardiff Arms Park, 1900 and 8/54 v MCC at St. Helen’s, Swansea, 1898.