Cricket legend David Gower relives bizarre moment Kerry Packer took him and Allan Lamb to the casino

  • Former England cricket ace tells of his eye-opening night in casino with Aussie media mogul
  • Gower recalls Packer’s dark mood when gaming losses mounted

Former England cricket captain, David Gower this week told of his bizarre encounter with the late Australian media magnate Kerry Packer during the 1990/91 Ashes cricket test series between Australia and England.

David Gower Chris Cowdrey Packer Casino night
David Gower with Chris Cowdrey. Gower has told of his bizarre night in a casino with Kerry Packer.

Gower and other members of the England team were invited to join Packer for dinner at Jupiters on the Gold Coast on the close of day two, with England already staring defeat in the face.

According to a Guardian report, Gower and the then-England skipper, Allan Lamb, enjoyed a fine meal with Packer before being encouraged to hit the casino tables after indulging in a string of fine wines – despite Packer being a teetotaller himself.

The England team followed Packer to the tables to offer the media mogul some support on the blackjack tables. However, Gower admitted to The Guardian that Packer did not have much luck that evening and tried everything from a change of cards and croupiers in a bid to change his luck; all to no avail.

All sweetness and light at first…

Gower described how Packer, who had been “all sweetness and light” in the early stages of the evening, quickly evolved into a “darker mien” when losing at the casino tables.

Parker’s mood took a turn for the worse as he required management approval from the casino floor for every additional rise to his credit limit, resulting in “feral scowls” each time he signed for an extra A$25,000 ($19,000).

Gower under fire

Despite being well-behaved throughout the evening, Gower and his skipper Lamb were shopped by a night porter at the England team hotel for welcoming the pair back to base after 1am; resulting in some backlash from the Australian press the following morning.

The following day, England were bowled out for 114, leaving Australia an easy 157 to win the test match without the loss of a single wicket.

Gower admitted “on those grounds alone one would have thought that Mr Packer would have invited us out every game”.

Gower was retelling this story as part of promotion of his five-night UK theatre tour with Chris Cowdrey, discussing life in the England ranks and why their friendship is still going strong after more than 40 years.

Dates include March 17, at The Anvil in Basingstoke, UK.

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