William Bowra

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William Bowra (1752 – 7 May 1820) was an English cricketer who played regularly for Kent teams from 1768 until 1788 and then for Sussex until 1792. He had 47 known first-class appearances between 1775 and 1792. His name was pronounced "Borra".

Bowra is thought to have been born at Sevenoaks, Kent. In a Hampshire Chronicle report of a 1775 game, his name is spelt "Bower". Bowra, probably the son of John Bowra, was a very useful batsman who was employed by John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset as a gamekeeper. He is believed to have been an outstanding fielder in close positions as a great many catches were credited to him.[1]

The Duke of Dorset was a great admirer of his play and the sources have recorded, perhaps as an anecdote, that Dorset used to sit on the railing round the Sevenoaks Vine ground to watch him bat, often exclaiming: "Bravo, my little Bowra".[2]

Bowra subsequently played for the Brighton team during 1790–1792 and once made 60* for Brighton v MCC. At this time he was perhaps employed on one of Dorset’s estates in Sussex. He returned to Knole House in 1807, again as gamekeeper, and it is believed he stayed there till his death in 1820.[3]


  1. ^ Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862
  2. ^ Ashley Mote, John Nyren's "The Cricketers of my Time", Robson, 1998
  3. ^ From Lads to Lord's – biography of William Bowra at the Wayback Machine (archived 10 October 2012).

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