MAGNIFICENT DAN KEMMISH PUSHES ON TO
350 1ST XV APPEARANCE MARK
Albion’s historian Scribe reviews a remarkable career
Dan Kemmish – Albion’s former 1st XV captain and now club captain – made his 350th 1st XV appearance in last Saturday’s encounter at Teignmouth in a welcome 40-22 away victory. That he produced his usual consistent play is a tribute to the quality; dedication; availability and durability he has shown over the past 13+ years. There was strong evidence of the excellent line-out wins and retention; some killing bursts in the loose; and some sturdy defence all around the field and particularly at close quarters.
Dan took up the game when he joined Albion Minis and Juniors and extended his knowledge at Haygrove School. In senior terms, he started with Morganians in 1995/6 before joining North Petherton the following season. There he had demonstrated his role model attributes which have simply continued throughout his career and which sets him apart from a substantial majority of players who have passed through our ranks in the last decade or so. He is a born leader and his charges have always followed him.
Dan made is Albion debut on 15 November 2003 at Cleve in the RFU Intermediate Cup and made 13 appearances in that first season. A glance at his record will show that every two years he has reached another 50 appearances – his 50th against Cinderford coming almost exactly two years to the day after his debut. The quality of the opposition in which he has achieved various landmarks in his career should also not be overlooked with the likes of Blackheath, London Scottish and Richmond all very much to the fore as the club enjoyed its National League status.
It was not long after Dan joined the club that he played in one of his most memorable games – the Level 5 play-off at Worthing which saw Albion promoted back to National League at the end of the 2004/5 season. Mind you, a meeting with the mighty Harlequins in the EDF Cup in the following season clearly also ranks highly. Both Dan and the club enjoyed their elevated status but alas it could not be sustained as many of the more transient players jumped ship as the going got tough. However, Dan and one or two other senior colleagues stood firm in the mayhem which followed quick relegations. If he and his colleagues had not done that, then the club would have been in extreme difficulty but it is to his and their credit that he rallied the younger players and galvanised them into re-establishing pride and resistance. He has assisted in marshalling a younger and less experienced team through these various turmoils and we have been able to consolidate at Level 6 over these last few seasons in our second bout of playing at this level. There are certainly signs that further progress can be made and Dan’s status as the “go to man” has brought about this ability.
Over the past few seasons, Dan has principally played in the second row but made his debut in the back row and his capabilities have allowed him to play with considerable aplomb in all of the back five positions of the scrum. His leadership stems from his job as a firefighter with the Devon and Somerset Fire Service where has secured representative honours with both the local Service side and with England and UK Fire Services teams whom he has both captained.
Two seasons ago Dan contemplated retirement but decided to stay on and it was with the club’s considerable blessing and thanks that he has done so in continuing to help what could become a very useful 1st XV outfit find their way back to a truly competitive level. Whatever he decides now will be an absolute bonus both for himself and for the club. He has now arrived in the top 20 of all-time Bridgwater & Albion 1st XV appearances. No wonder the congratulations have rung in from all over the world from playing contemporaries.
A further look at his appearances list shows the absolute consistency – in several seasons he has played in all matches (he has played in all 18 to date this season). If you remember that the league season is 26 matches and there may be one or two Cup matches thrown in, then the regularity is remarkable. It is in fact perhaps fitting that Dan’s major landmarks over the last few years have resulted in good victories for us – he will have undoubtedly raised his game for such occasions and others around him would have done the same to show their respect and thanks. With at least nine games left there is plenty of time for him and the team to display their skills. Players like this only come about once in a while and are to be cherished. One wonders if we will ever see players achieving so many appearances in the future – at present the next in line behind Dan is almost 190 games away. Nevertheless this may be something which some of our younger players should strive for. The way to do it has been exemplary laid out over the last 14 seasons.
DANIEL JOHN KEMMISH
DOB 18 MAY 1976
Debut 15.11.03 v Cleve (A) RFU Intermediate Cup L8-13
Team on debut: Hake; Hancock Knox S Triggol De Bonis; Woodhouse Salmon; Harwood M Ranson Kemmish Cox S Ranson Bryant Hastie Stiling. Rep: Munn.
50 v Cinderford 19.11.05 A L12-19 N3SW
75 v Blackheath 9.12.06 H W38-29 EDF Cup Rd 3
100 v London Scottish 3.10.07 A L18-27 N2S
150 V Richmond 19.9.09 H L3-44 N2S
200 v Oxford Harlequins 16.4.11 H D42-42 N3SW
250 v Paignton 30.3.13 A W40-5 SW1W
300 v Cullompton 28.2.15 A W55-20 SW1W
350 v Teignmouth 28.1.17 A W40-22 SW1W