Rugby: ‘Quiet but hard as nails’ - Tunbridge Wells player-coach steps down

TRY AND TRY AGAIN: Dave Allen is the record try-scorer in National League One PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

Rugby: ‘Quiet but hard as nails’ - Tunbridge Wells player-coach steps down

by Andy Tong | 17th April 2019

TUNBRIDGE WELLS RFC's 1st XV have said farewell to Dave Allen, who has decided to retire at the age of 37 after two years as player-coach.

The back-row forward, who specialised at openside flanker, went to Hugh Christie School in Tonbridge and learnt the game at Sevenoaks RFC from the age of six.

At 17 he joined his father’s former club Old Juddians and spent six seasons there, during which time they amalgamated with Tonbridge to form TJs.

In 2004 he was recruited by Blackheath, where he played for 13 years. He became the all-time try scorer in National League One history with 147 tries from 274 appearances for the club.

'He has been recognised as the best open-sides away from the fully professional arena for more than a decade'

Graham Cox of Blackheath described him as ‘hard as nails on the field, yet quietly spoken and charming off it’, adding: “A master at controlling the ball at the base of the rolling maul, from where a majority of his tries have been scored, he has been recognised as the best open-sides away from the fully professional arena for more than a decade, turning down numerous offers to play at a higher level.”

He also represented England Counties eight times and played one match for the Barbarians against Combined Services.

The club’s President, Roger Clarke, said: “It has been a privilege to have him as part of the town set-up and everyone wishes him the best.

“Maybe deep down we hope he will change his mind as next season looms large on the calendar.”

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