Walter Gowers was a true legend at the Rochdale Hornets club and his contributions to the Saints’ cause may well be rather small in comparison. A brilliant full-back, he played six times for the Knowsley Road club during the first half of the 1936-37 season, making his debut at home during a 3-3 draw with Warrington. The team didn’t win a game, apart from another draw with his former club Rochdale Hornets. Walter also kicked goals. Perhaps the best summary oh his career appeared in the Rochdale Hornets Centenary, by Bob Fletcher, published in 1971:
Scored 27 goals on the 1928 tour. Was informed of his tour selection by a shout from the touchline in a game at Leigh. Was signed by Hornets in 1922 whilst playing for Platt Lane in the Wigan Junior League and developed into one of the soundest full-backs in the game. Held the club’s goal-kicking record with his 109 goals and one try in 1933-34. Graham Starkey beat the aggregate in 1967. Full-back with Preston NE Reserve in 1926 when unable to find work. When signed by Hornets, Walter lived overlooking the Wigan ground, where his father was a gatekeeper. His son Ken (Swinton full-back) also toured Australia in 1966 and was appointed Great Britain captain in January 1965. Ken played trials with Hornets but they released him and he joined Swinton. Walter’s aggregate of goals for the 14 seasons when he played regularly was 757. In the same period he scored five tries. Played regularly for Lancashire and won four county championship medals. In 1937 assisted St. Helens in a few games. Came out of retirement to play with Hornets at Wigan in one game on 12 January 1946.
It is therefore a great pity that the Saints could not have acquired his services a few years earlier, as Walter was clearly a talented player.
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