Frank Lowson

LOWSON, FRANK ANDERSON, died at Pool-in-Wharfedale on September 8, 1984, aged 59. In a career of only ten years he made 15,321 runs with an average of 37.18, including 31 centuries, and played in seven Tests. Few players have made a better start. Trained in the Yorkshire League, he played his first match for Yorkshire in May 1949 against Cambridge and made 78. Within a month he had opened in a Test trial and scored 64. At the end of the season his record was 1,799 runs with an average of 35.98, which, with only one century, 104 against Middlesex at Sheffield, showed rare consistency.

In his second season his aggregate was 2,152 and his average 42.19. In 1951 he was picked for the fourth and fifth Tests against South Africa and at Leeds scored 58, putting on 99 with Hutton for the first wicket. That winter he went with MCC to India and Pakistan, but though he scored over 1,000 runs, he was a disappointment in the Tests. His last Test match was against South Africa at Leeds in 1955: he was unlucky to be called on at the last moment when he was himself out of form to deputise for Watson, who was injured, and he did nothing.

However, he made 1,000 runs that year for the seventh time running and did so again in 1956. In 1957 he was batting well when leg trouble ended his cricket for the summer in mid-June. In 1958 he never refound his form, and after being left out of the side was not re-engaged at the end of the season.

Slightly built, he was a stroker of the ball rather than a striker: yet his highest score, 259 not out against Worcestershire at Worcester in 1953, though it took almost six hours. Included 36 4s. At a time when there was a predominance of in-swing and off-breaks, he was especially strong on the leg; but he had all the strokes and, when opportunity offered, could cut and drive as well as anyone. Technically very correct, he was a good player of the moving and turning ball.

He was perhaps unlucky that his opening partner through almost the whole of his career was Hutton, for he was inevitably overshadowed. The crowd had come to see Ajax the Great, not Ajax the Less. On the other hand he must have learned technical lessons from studying, at such close quarters, so great a player, Given more physical strength and a little more fire, Lowson could have reached greater heights than he did. An adequate field, he eventually made himself an expert close catcher in the leg trap to bowlers such as Appleyard. After retiring from first-class cricket he made a successful career in insurance.

© John Wisden & Co