Drinkwater was born in Jarrow, County Durham and began his career with Guildford City F.C. in 1951. He signed for QPR in 1957 from Portsmouth and made his debut in a 1-1 draw with Coventry City in March 1958. He was goalkeeper and went on to play 199 league games for Rangers.
Ray left Rangers in 1963 moving to non league Bath City.
He died on 24 March 2008, aged 76.