One of the men who featured in Hunslet’s pack when the Parksiders beat Bradford 5-2 in the Yorkshire Senior Competition Championship Final at Headingley, Leeds on 30 April 1898 appears to have been a singular character.
John Bowley – who had been thought to have been English, but was in fact Welsh – would have featured in Steve Calline’s first `Raiding the Valleys’ feature in the December issue of South of the River had his nationality been known at the time.
Steve is happy to put the record straight – and with some extra, diverting, detail.
He writes: “Bowley is now recognised to be Welsh. He originally played for Newport and was seen as a difficult man.
“While in Newport, he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, and later fined for throwing an Irish sea captain though a window. He had to move on elsewhere and joined Bristol in 1894-5.
“In 1895-6 he played in all Bristol’s first team games before joining Cardiff in 1896-7 and playing seven games in their first team.
“At this point he signed for Hunslet and played four games at the end of the 1897-8 season, including the play-off final against Bradford.
“The following season he played in eight of Hunslet’s first thirteen games, and no more. In 1898-1899 he was allowed to join Salford on loan and played eight games for them before disappearing. He allegedly died in 1910 aged 43; he seems to have been a bit of a nomad really.”