Wentworth R Allen

Born30 January 1894, Dublin
Died22 February 1943, Shankhill, Co Dublin
EducatedAravon School, Bray, Co Wicklow, Dublin University
Debut22 July 1920 v Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
Cap Number295
StyleRight arm medium
TeamsDublin University, Phoenix
History"Wenty" Allen met with only comparative success in his eight Irish appearances, but for fifteen years he was one of the most effective bowlers in Leinster Cricket. Tall and bespectacled, he used his height to extract lift off the wicket, and also moved the ball both through the air and off the pitch. Having been a leading sportsman at Aravon, which then took boys through to University entrance, he entered Dublin University in 1911, but did not gain a regular first team place until 1914. He returned after war service to complete his degree and was the mainstay of the University attack in 1919 and 1920.

In the first year, he and the left arm quick bowler Basil Ward were mainly responsible for the fifteen wins the team gained in all matches. Allen took 5 wickets in an innings on three occasions in the League. The following year, his last at University he did even better, with several notable performances. The most spectacular was in a two day win over Derbyshire, Allen taking 7-40 in the first innings. It should be mentioned, that even by their standards the County had a terrible season that year! In the League he had five in an innings four times, and in all matches he finished with over 100 wickets from the two seasons.

He now devoted his full time to Phoenix for whom he was to take 382 wickets at 12.52. For both clubs 1919 -1934, he captured 463 batsmen at 12.46 in League and Cup matches. One of his best performances for Phoenix was against their Park neighbours Civil Service, a side struggling to retain senior status. In a 1923 League fixture Allen took 6-4 to hustle the opposition out for 37 of which future Irish and Leinster bat Frank Connell contributed 16! In 1926 Allen returned to the University side to strengthen it for a match against Northamptonshire. The County destroyed them by an innings despite some fine bowling by Indian born Australian Tom Dixon. "Wenty" lacked penetration, but was accuracy personified as he returned figures of 25-7-47-2.

His Irish bowling results were somewhat similar. He played eight times but took only 18 wickets, yet his economy rate was 2.63. He had one real success, taking 5-61 in College Park in the tragic Military of Ireland match of 1921 when play was abandoned following an attack on the match by two gunmen, which resulted in no harm to the soldiers, but in a young woman spectator being killed. In other matches Allen never took more than two wickets in an innings, his best whole match analysis being 4-98 v Scotland in 1925. Captain of Phoenix in 1932, the first appointed for a whole season by that famous club, he did not play senior cricket after 1934. Pat Hone in "Cricket in Ireland" refers to him as "a good stock bowler." That is probably a fair description of his international outings. However Hone also describes him as "a first rate player." In terms of what Allen achieved for a decade and a half in Leinster Senior Cricket, that is certainly no over statement.

Edward Liddle, April 2007

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