Born in 1925 in Clydach near Swansea, Gwilym Bowen played his early rugby at the Swansea valley side of Vadre RFC , which club he also captained. He joined Swansea in the 1945-46 season, the last season that saw the great Haydn Tanner play for Swansea. Gwilym only played two games making his debut in a 12 - 11 win against Aberavon at St Helens on 17 November 1945, at outside centre. A second match selected on the wing at home to Rosslyn Park completed his contribution for the season.
But the following campaign he played regularly for the All Whites, notching up 11 matches, mostly at his best position of centre. He covered the full-back position in a couple of matches against Aberavon and Pembrokeshire. Missing the following term, Bowen made 10 appearances between 1948-49 and 1950-51 alongside such Swansea luminaries as Roy Sutton, Billy Williams, Bryn Evans, Dil Johnson, Len Blythe and Horace Phillips. Bowen's last match against Cross Keys saw Swansea score five tries in a satisfying 24 - nil win. Gwilym scored three of them, saving his only points for the club to his last match and leaving with a hat-trick!
Gwilym moved to the Professional Halifax RLFC during 1951-52 for a huge signing on fee of £850 (£23,000 adjusted to today's rates) and completed that and the 1952-53 seasons at the Halifax club as a full-back, noted for his great crash tackling. He made 29 appearances, scoring 1 try and 6 goals. With the signing by Halifax of full-back Tuss Griffiths Gwilym's prospects declined and he went on loan to Castleford RLFC in 1953-54, though his playing conribution there is not known. He returned to Wales following this stint in Rugby League.
Gwilym Bowen also enjoyed a spell playing with Bridgend RFC.
Gwilym died in Rugby, Warwickshire in December 2013.
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