A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
False Bay's oldest teenager is now a septuagenarian.
Seventy year-old Deryck Allen, a recognizable character at the club, has been a member since 1969, when he was chosen for Western Province Under 20 and captained the Club's Under 20s..
Pigeon, as he is affectionately known, joined the Bay straight after graduating from Plumstead High School in 1968. Blessed with the typical frame of a number nine, his nuggety style was backed up by his success as a Provincial judo representative.
He was a member of Basil Bey's successful Grand Challenge winning team of 1972 and represented the Bay's First XV for a number of years. He self-deprecatingly says that two of his fly-halves, Marius Conradie and Richard Nurse, went on to earn WP colours as a result of his crisp, bullet-like passing.
He spent a year at what is now known as the Newcastle Falcons, busked around London in 1974, and then coached False Bay First XV for three years.
As most rugby players come to realize, the on-field achievements and history become more of a private issue than one's stamp of passage. It is more one's post-playing days that sets one aside as a Member at any rugby club and it is here where Allen's cloth becomes rich in texture.
Nowadays, any regular spectator sitting on the Bay side of the supporters stands Phillip Herbstein Fields in Constantia will be all too familiar with his yell of "C'mon Bay!", normally released at the most tense moment one could image and resulting in a collective jump of fright from those around him, his passionate support of his team undeniable.
But it is his commitment and readiness to be involved in any form at False Bay RFC which is Allen's standout attribute at the club. He played Crocks rugby until the age of 65 and is always willing to referee when needed, further proof that 20/20 vision is not always a pre-requisite of some whistlemen.
He never allows an opportunity to be involved in any team dynamic pass him by and joined the Third XV as manager for this year's aborted season.
Off the field he is entertaining. Literally. An accomplished guitarist, he is ready at the drop of a hat to fetch his guitar and get a sing-along going. The writer once witnessed his true talent, away from the rowdy singalong style of everyone singing different lyrics at once. False Bay were on tour to Durban about eight years ago and the resident musician had struck up a warm relationship with the visitors over the few days. Allen was allowed a solo slot on the stage with his equipment and proceeded to entertain with his virtuosity and fine voice without interruption.
" Deryck has been a longstanding and loyal member who played in the victorious Grand Challenge winning team of 1972 and was an equally proud participant in the Clubs 2016 victory in the SLA. A deserving recipient of a Life Membership award, he remains a club man to the core and brings positive energy to every occasion", says Dr Gareth Jones, Club President.
"Deryck's loyalty and love of the club and its members; his generous nature, friendly and kind disposition are standout traits of Deryck", says Kevin Lennett, Chairman False Bay RFC. "And he's still in my opinion as tough as they come!"
A hearty congratulations to False Bay's oldest teenager, a 70-year-old boy in a boy's body, proof that growing old is unavoidable but growing up in optional.