In this week's piece for Black History Month, we take a look back at Norman Cowans' career with Middlesex and focus on Leicestershire v Middlesex in 1985, a game in which Norman registered his career best First-Class bowling figures for Middlesex.
Middlesex First-Class Stats
Match Information -
Britannic Assurance County Championship, 1985
Leicestershire v Middlesex
Grace Road, Leicester
4,5,6 September 1985 (3-day match)
Result: Middlesex won by 10 wickets
Born in Enfield St. Mary, Jamaica in 1961, Norman ‘Flash’ Cowans was on the Lord's ground staff in 1979 before joining the Middlesex staff in the winter of 1980/81. A right arm fast bowler, he made his Middlesex First-Class debut in 1981 and went on to take 532 wickets for the club at an average of 22.57. We look back at one of Norman’s finest hours for the Club, as he took 6 for 31, his best bowling figures for the club.
Cowans’ tore through Leicestershire’s batting line up in 1985 to set Middlesex on their way to a 10-wicket victory. Captain Gatting won the toss and elected to field at Grace Road, and it didn’t take long for Daniel to find the breakthrough as he bowled Butcher for 11.
With Leicestershire looking to rebuild their innings, Gower and Balderstone managed to steady the ship as they put together an important 41 run partnership. With Middlesex looking for the breakthrough, up stepped Cowans to dismiss Balderstone for 19 with the ever-reliable Roland Butcher taking the catch with the score on 57 for 2.
A further 29 runs were added to the Leicestershire first innings before the dangerous Gower was dismissed on 49 - Cowans again with the wicket, dismissing his fellow countryman one run short a half century. What followed was an impressive spell for Middlesex who dismantled Leicestershire’s middle order, taking 3 wickets, and conceding just 11 runs, as the hosts collapsed to 97 for 6.
Willey was the first victim hitting the ball straight into the secure hands of Brown, Cowans with his third wicket of the match. Daniel then charged in to dismiss Whitaker at the other end, edging to Downton on 7. Before he could get set, Cowans trapped Briers lbw with the batsman walking back to Pavilion for no score.
Leicestershire needed to rebuild, and a small partnership was built between Clift and DeFreitas but it didn’t take long for Cowans to strike again, with Clift departing for 30 with the score on 120 for 7 – another casualty of Cowans’ devastating fast bowling. Wickets for Hughes and Williams in quick succession left Leicestershire on 155 for 9, in desperate need of a partnership.