Blog/The Amazing Life Story of David Gower: Wife, Family, Cricket Success, and the Tiger Moth
The Amazing Life Story of David Gower: Wife, Family, Cricket Success, and the Tiger Moth
8 min read

The Amazing Life Story of David Gower: Wife, Family, Cricket Success, and the Tiger Moth

8 min read
david-gower-wife-and-life
Kyle McManusOct 31, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Former Cricketer David Gower and His Incredible Life

David Gower: One of the best cricket players in British History. Image credit: Sky News.
David Gower: One of the best cricket players in British History. Image credit: Sky News.

David Gower is one of the most successful English cricket players of all time. This legendary left-hander made his Test cricket debut for England in 1978, and has achieved much throughout his career since that first international game. He has the fourth-highest career run record in test matches of all England players, and was a captivating batsman at his finest.

We’ll take a look at some of these triumphs, and his personal life, below. Join us as we celebrate David Gower’s story, from his earliest days as a cricketer to his amazing feats at the Ashes series and beyond. 

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When Did David Gower Marry His Wife Thorunn?

Gower is married to Thorunn Gower (née Nash). The pair married at Winchester Cathedral in 1992, with fellow England cricketer, Chris Cowdrey, as best man. Guests included former England players Ian Botham and Allan Lamb, as well as celebrities like Rory Bremner and Gary Lineker.

For David Gower, wife Thorunn was a positive influence. His former teammate Allan Lamb once said that Thorunn was "perfect" for Gower, and that she had "mellowed him and changed him." The couple has been together for more than 36 years since they met at a ball in 1985. Gower later proposed during the Christmas season of 1989. Today, Gower and wife Thorunn live in Hampshire.

David Gower and wife, Thorunn, got married in 1992 at Winchester Cathedral. Image credit: Getty Images.
David Gower and wife, Thorunn, got married in 1992 at Winchester Cathedral. Image credit: Getty Images.

Who are David's Children?

David Gower and wife Thorunn have two daughters: Alex and Sammi, both in their twenties. David has frequently confessed that the love of his family always gave him momentum on the field.

When Did David Gower Start Playing Cricket?

Gower started to discover his love of cricket while at Marlborough House School in Hawkhurst. He attended the school between the ages of 8 and 13, and moved on to The King's School in Canterbury. He became part of the cricket First XI at 14 years old, and later took on the role of captain.

The legendary left-hander made his Test cricket debut for England in 1978. Image credit: Getty Images.
The legendary left-hander made his Test cricket debut for England in 1978. Image credit: Getty Images.

He played various matches for the Leicestershire Second XI before he became a professional with the Leicestershire Cricket Club, playing his first match for the team in July 1975 against Lancashire. Gower took part in several more matches during the rest of that season and the 1976 season.

He has credited his time at Leicestershire as being a formative period in his career, saying it was an "easy side to come into as a youngster". He has also praised players Ray Illingworth, Mick Norman, Jack Birkenshaw, Roger Tolchard, and Ken Higgs for offering "tremendous encouragement and advice."

David Gower Career Highlights: England Captaincy and Golden Season

Gower was chosen for the England Young Cricketers team in 1976. They played against the equivalent team from the West Indies, and after a troubled start, England landed a 22-run victory. He later took on the national West Indies team when he played for England.

He displayed impressive talent for the sport during early matches, particularly when taking on Pakistan and New Zealand (scoring his first Test hundred). These notable performances earned him a place in the Ashes, and his first Ashes match took place at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, in late 1978.

David Gower (former England captain) performed incredibly against Pakistan and New Zealand. Image credit: PA.
David Gower (former England captain) performed incredibly against Pakistan and New Zealand. Image credit: PA.

While Gower’s form fluctuated at times over subsequent years of playing cricket for England, he remained popular, and this increased significantly during his “golden season” at the Ashes in 1985. This came a year after he had been appointed England captain for the series against the West Indies.

How Did Gower Perform During His Golden Season?

David Gower scored 86 and 22 against Australia in a Test at Lord’s, followed by 166 at Trent Bridge and 47 at Old Trafford. (Watch the footage with broadcaster Mike Atherton and reminisce). But he later earned the highest score of his career with 215 from 314 balls at Edgbaston, and a further 157 during a Test at The Oval.

Gower also built two partnerships across 300 runs: he scored 331 with Tim Robinson’s 148 and 351 with Gooch’s 196. In total, Gower had racked up 732 runs at 81.33 by the close of the series. Overall, England secured victory against Australia with a score of 3 - 1.

David Gower (left) and bowler, Richard Ellison (right) were England's greatest cricket duo in the 1985 Ashes. Image credit: Wisden.
David Gower (left) and bowler, Richard Ellison (right) were England's greatest cricket duo in the 1985 Ashes. Image credit: Wisden.

Here's a breakdown of the 1985 Ashes series:

  • England won the first Test by 5 wickets

  • Australia won the second Test by 4 wickets

  • England and Australia drew in the third Test

  • England were back on form in the fourth test: they won by an innings and 118 runs

  • England won by an innings and 94 runs

Gower remained captain until 1986, and took up the mantle again in 1989 for that year's Ashes tour. Graham Gooch replaced him after his brief return, and Gower retired from international cricket in 1993. In all, Gower played 117 Test matches, and remains one of England's top-scoring players of his era.

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What's the Story Behind the Notorious Tiger Moth Incident?

The Tiger Moth joyride is one of the most bizarre tales from David Gower's tenure with England's national cricket team. He played many great matches and has continued to make impressive achievements since, but fans will never forget this incredible incident.

So, what happened? The short story is: Gower and his fellow England teammate, batting ace John Morris, decided to take an unscheduled adventure in a Tiger Moth, a beautiful biplane. The England team's managers were unaware of the pair's actions and their whereabouts. Needless to say, Gower and Morris received something of a telling off.

David Gower (left) and John Morris prepare for take-off over the Australian cricket ground, known as the 1991 Tiger Moth incident. Image credit: Getty Images.
David Gower (left) and John Morris prepare for take-off over the Australian cricket ground, known as the 1991 Tiger Moth incident. Image credit: Getty Images.

Gower and Morris took to the sky on January 21st, 1991, when the team was in Queensland, Australia. England had been defeated at the initial two Ashes Test matches, drawn in the third, and lost in a tour match. But Gower appeared in good spirits, and had been impressed by the biplanes taking flight near the Carrara Oval – the Queensland cricket stadium – while playing.

He wanted to try his hand at flying one of the Tiger Moths himself, and Morris tagged along. They found a biplane and took it for a ride without telling anyone. All whilst the rest of the team, blissfully unaware, kept on playing.

England's Golden Boy with Sir Geoffrey Boycott after achieving the highest run-scorer in Tests. Image credit: Wisden.
England's Golden Boy with Sir Geoffrey Boycott after achieving the highest run-scorer in Tests. Image credit: Wisden.

What Happened to Gower and Morris After Their Flight?

A photographer chronicling the team's trip down under recognised the pair through his telephoto lens, and one of the pilots later notified the press of the impromptu joyride. David Gower and John Morris were caught out, but the punishment wasn't as severe as some fans may have expected.

Gower and Morris were asked to appear before the team's disciplinary committee to explain themselves. According to Cricket Country, Gower suggested that the committee either take a "heavy" approach or "treat it as a harmless prank."

The committee chose the latter option. Gower and Morris were fined £1,000 each, and the incident became one of the most memorable events in the England team's history.

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Post-Retirement Success With Ian Botham

Gower is known for his laid-back attitude and his dry wit, whether chatting with interviewers or taking part in panel shows on television. And this made him a fantastic choice to present Sky Sports' cricket coverage for decades. Many younger fans of the sport in the United Kingdom may know him primarily as a presenter and commentator (alongside Mike Atherton), rather than for his time as a cricketer.

Gower enjoyed a fantastic innings on Sky Sports, along with his former teammate Ian "Beefy" Botham. Botham is another cricket legend, with a storied career to match David Gower's. The pair had played many matches together, and they built a successful on-screen partnership on Sky Sports that kept viewers tuning in again and again.

David Gower and Ian Botham were successful presenters and commentators post-cricket on Sky Sports. Image credit: Getty Images.
David Gower and Ian Botham were successful presenters and commentators post-cricket on Sky Sports. Image credit: Getty Images.

Gower and Botham commentated on dozens of cricket matches during their time at Sky Sports, building on years of personal experience to deliver expert analysis. However, their innings came to an end in 2019 when they both left Sky Sports. Ian Botham tweeted that it had "been a great ride for 25 years" and that he couldn't "thank Sky enough for keeping [him] close to the game" he loved for so long.

David Gower's Success on They Think It's All Over

Comedy panel shows are a staple of television in the United Kingdom, and Gower appeared on one of the biggest of the 1990s for almost a decade as part of its original lineup. They Think It's All Over was a hugely popular sports quiz hosted by Nick Hancock, with David Gower and Gary Lineker as opposing team captains. They were joined by regular panellists Lee Hurst and Rory McGrath, both of whom were successful comedians of the era.

Cricketer David Gower and former footballer Lineker weren't the only sports stars to grace They Think It's All Over during its long run. A host of well-known athletes, including many Olympians, feature too. Big names included Steve Davis, Teddy Sheringham, Kelly Holmes, Roger Black, Denise Lewis, Colin Montgomerie, and too many others to list here!

David Gower (left) with fellow presenters on popular comedy sports quiz show They Think It's All Over. Image credit: comedy.co.uk.
David Gower (left) with fellow presenters on popular comedy sports quiz show They Think It's All Over. Image credit: comedy.co.uk.

Gower brought his laid-back charm to the show each week and won regular laughs even alongside professional comedians and seasoned presenters. His easy-going presence and devil-may-care demeanour ensured Gower was a popular part of the lineup.

He left the show in 2003 after being with it since its 1995 debut, and They Think It's All Over lasted for another three years before ending in 2006. It's fondly remembered in the UK, and was instrumental in winning Gower new fans who may not have known him from his days as a cricketer.

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Kyle McManus
Kyle McManusCopywriter
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