Crowther, Sidney

Sidney Crowther was a noted local sprinter whose pace on the wing enabled him to score 62 tries in the 120 games that he played for the club between 1921 and 1927. He scored a try in his only appearance for Gloucestershire and was selected to play in the 1924 Golden Jubilee game against Captain Donne’s XV.

Sidney Crowther was born in Gloucester in 1901 and learned his rugby at school in the city. He joined the club in 1921 with a reputation as a sprinter. The club’s expectations were high but he took time to establish himself in the 1st XV.

He scored his first try for Gloucester in a 15-9 victory over Bristol at Kingsholm in March 1922 but, scoring only 3 tries in 17 games, failed to impress that season. The following year was more successful and amongst his nine tries were scores in fine wins over Bristol and Moseley and the only Gloucester try in a 14-10 loss to undefeated Newport in late March.

He finished the 1923-24 season strongly, after a lean patch, scoring 11 tries in only 12 games. WB of the Citizen was able to say “Nothing has given me more satisfaction recently than the improved form of S Crowther” and he endorsed the remark at the start of 1924-25 by writing “Last season Crowther finished so strongly that great things are expected of the local sprinter this year.”

1924-25 was indeed his most successful year. He was selected for Gloucester’s 50th Jubilee game in November and scored 18 tries in the 31 games he played for the club, making him Gloucester’s leading try scorer that year. Four tries in one match and two in three others, a crucial try in a rare 8-6 win over Cardiff and another against Coventry were highlights of a fine season.

He started 1925-26 by arriving ten minutes late for his first match at Kingsholm, Gloucester starting against Coventry with 14 men, but he did redeem himself by scoring a try in a 13-0 victory. However his season was severely disrupted by injury and he was out for nearly four months. Again he came back strongly late in the season, to score 10 tries in 14 games.

At the start of 1926-27 WB of the Citizen said that “Crowther finished last season in fine style and I gather he is very keen on gaining county honours”. He was chosen to play for Gloucestershire against the County Champions Yorkshire at Kingsholm in September and scored a try in a fine 14-4 win for the county, but it was to be his only opportunity. He had not lost his pace and scored a try against Cardiff in February by running almost the entire length of the field. However, apart from moments of individual brilliance his form had declined and the old criticisms of his handling ability and inclination to overrun the ball resurfaced. At the end of April the Citizen commented that he had not reached the standard of previous years.

At the start of 1927-28, perhaps somewhat disillusioned, he failed to turn up for training. As late as September 17, the Citizen said somewhat sourly “I gather S Crowther has not definitely given up the game, but he can hardly be considered until he has been seen at the practices.”  He played for Gloucester United against Hereford on October 1 and the following Saturday he was chosen to play against Cardiff. Understandably he was off the pace and lacked practice. It was to be the last game for a player who despite his try scoring achievements never quite fulfilled his full potential.

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