Montague Parker Bowden
November 01, 1865, Stockwell, Surrey
February 19, 1892, Umtali (now Mutare), Mashonaland, Rhodesia, (aged 26y 110d)
Right hand bat
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 debuted for Surrey in 1883, and showed great initial promise that was never fully realised. A useful right-handed bat and wicketkeeper, 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 stockbroking 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 travelled north to Rhodesia with Cecil Rhodes' Pioneer Column, and settled there. He died 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 whisky cases.
MP Bowden, whose death had some time before been incorrectly announced, died in South Africa in February. Born on November 1st, 1865, Mr. Bowden was educated at Dulwich College, and made his first appearance in the Surrey eleven in the season of 1883. His batting that year, especially in the Bank Holiday match against Notts at The Oval, showed enormous promise, and raised hopes which were never quite realised. In 1888, however - his last year in the county team - he did very brilliant work, scoring 430 runs in first-class county matches with an average of 30.10, and 797 in all matches with an average of 31.22. In that year also he had the honour of being chosen wicketkeeper for the Gentlemen, both at Lord's and The Oval, and also for the Gentlemen against the Australians at Lord's. At the end of the season of 1888 he went out to South Africa, as a member of the team got up by Major Wharton, and there remained for the rest of his life.
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