Flashback! Darren Cowley batting for Barton against Torquay


PROLIFIC run getter Darren Cowley will be playing regularly for Barton next season after an absence of 16 years.

The 43 year old has told Barton skipper Adam Parker he won’t be playing in Dorset this season and wants to spend the summer in the Tolchards Devon League A Division instead.

Said Parker: “Darren had had a very successful career to date and is a huge player for us to have.

“Wherever Darren has played he has scored runs and he will also be valuable with the ball in hand for us.”

Go fetch! Darren Cowley flogging the bowlingCowley, a hard-hitting left-hander, first played for Barton way back in 1996 after his family returned to the UK following a spell living in South Africa.

Cowley had toured India with South Africa under-19s and was being trailed by a number of First Class counties when he first joined Barton.

Barely a month after joining Barton the then 19 year old hammered his first Devon League century, which was 102 not out taken off the Sandford attack.

Over the next nine seasons Cowley smashed more than 4,500 Premier and A Division runs for Barton, including tons against South Devon, Plymouth and a Devon League personal best of 123 against Sandford in 2003.

Cowley was seldom out of the Premier Division’s top-10 batters at the end of the summer. Curiously, he never bettered his first season for Barton when he made 601 league runs.

After leaving Barton at the end of the 2004 summer when he left the area, Cowley played for Bournemouth and latterly Lymington in the Southern Premier League.

Rivals considered Cowley first and foremost as a batsman, but he bowled left-arm orthodox spin to good effect as well.

Although a First Class career never materialised, Cowley played Minor Counties cricket for Dorset for more than a decade.

Once Cowley’s eligibility was established – playing for South Africa at under-19 level led to bizarre questions over the Winchester-born cricketer’s qualification to play in Minor Counties cricket – he made more than 100 appearances for Dorset.

Cowley opted for Dorset ahead of Devon for a number of reasons, one of which was loyalty. His father Nigel had played for Dorset in 1972 before turning professional with Hampshire.

Cowley is one of two close-season signings made by Parker as he squad builds for the season ahead. The other is ex-Brixham batter Chris Lanyon.

Lanyon may be a bit rusty after missing the 2019 season, but that does not worry Parker.

“Chris hasn't played for a while but was someone I wanted to get on board for years,” said Parker.

“I am looking forward to seeing him in a Barton shirt and scoring runs.”

Parker will be hoping Lanyon does what he did on his last debut for a new club. Back in 2004 he left Brixham for Stoke Gabriel and took a century off Feniton on his debut.