Ex-Test umpire Lou Rowan, known for role in John Snow affair, dies at 91


first_imgAUSTRALIA’s oldest former Test umpire Lou Rowan has died, aged 91. Rowan, remembered for being involved in two of Australia’s most controversial Tests, umpired 26 Test matches and cricket’s first one day international in his eight-year career.Most notably, he officiated in the controversial 1970-71 Ashes series in Australia, including the seventh Test at the SCG where England captain Ray Illingworth walked his team from the field after fast bowler John Snow was attacked by a member of the crowd, who came to be known as “the man in the towelling hat”.At the time, Rowan instructed Illingworth to return his team to the field or face forfeiting the match, before the game continued. Rowan had earlier warned the quick for intimidatory bowling after Australian tailender Terry Jenner had been hit in the head by a Snow bouncer.It was one of several run-ins between Rowan and the English team during the series, in which no Australian batsmen were given out lbw in any of the Tests. In his provocative book The Umpire’s Story, released a year after the Snow incident, Rowan claimed that he didn’t regret his actions on the day.“It is not a happy thought that, as an umpire, I might have been the spark to explode Anglo-Australian Test cricket relations to smithereens,” Rowan wrote. “But I have no regrets for my part in the affair; I would act no differently in similar circumstances now, whether at club or international cricket level.”“But cricket had a close shave that day at the SCG, a mighty close one when one considers how easily events far less acrimonious than Ray Illingworth’s had been built into international incidents… I had to act, as I have repeatedly done in my job as a policeman in Brisbane and elsewhere, in the interests of maintaining the peace”Snow fired back in his own 1976 book, Cricket Rebel, devoting an entire chapter to his “bitter rows with Umpire Rowan”, but it wasn’t until 1997 that “the man in the towelling hat” was revealed to be Trevor Guy, a 53-year-old from Sylvania Waters. A 2010 article in the Sydney Morning Herald claimed Guy had indulged in a few drinks on the fateful fay, but denied being “stoned”.Years earlier, in his third Test, Lou Rowan was also officiating at the bowler’s end when square leg umpire Col Egar no-balled Ian Meckiff for throwing in the 1963-64 series against South Africa.He later became a voice against alleged chuckers, petitioning for them to be removed from the game. Away from the game, Rowan worked as a Queensland drug squad detective.“It is not a happy thought that, as an umpire, I might have been the spark to explode Anglo-Australian Test cricket relations to smithereens,” Rowan wrote. “But I have no regrets for my part in the affair; I would act no differently in similar circumstances now, whether at club or international cricket level.”“But cricket had a close shave that day at the SCG, a mighty close one when one considers how easily events far less acrimonious than Ray Illingworth’s had been built into international incidents… I had to act, as I have repeatedly done in my job as a policeman in Brisbane and elsewhere, in the interests of maintaining the peace”Snow fired back in his own 1976 book, Cricket Rebel, devoting an entire chapter to his “bitter rows with Umpire Rowan”, but it wasn’t until 1997 that “the man in the towelling hat” was revealed to be Trevor Guy, a 53-year-old from Sylvania Waters. A 2010 article in the Sydney Morning Herald claimed Guy had indulged in a few drinks on the fateful fay, but denied being “stoned”.Years earlier, in his third Test, Lou Rowan was also officiating at the bowler’s end when square leg umpire Col Egar no-balled Ian Meckiff for throwing in the 1963-64 series against South Africa. He later became a voice against alleged chuckers, petitioning for them to be removed from the game. Away from the game, Rowan worked as a Queensland drug squad detective.(Guardian Sport/AAP)last_img

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