Dan Kemmish, Albion’s former Captain and now Club Captain, is due to make his 300th appearance in the 1st XV in tomorrow’s match at Cullompton. He is set to achieve the mark during his 12th season with the club – a commendable tribute to his general consistency both as regards quality of form and availability and obviously durability.
Dan was introduced to rugby football at Haygrove School and joined Albion Minis and Juniors. He commenced his senior career with Morganians in 1995/6 before joining North Petherton the following season and between then and October 2003 when he joined Albion, he had already set out his role model attributes which has stood him and his colleagues in good stead ever since.
Dan made his Albion debut on 15 November 2003 at Cleve in the RFU Intermediate Cup and played 13 matches in that first season. Thereafter he has been an absolute regular in some seasons, playing in all matches and with 20 appearances in 2006/7, his least number of games. This season he has appeared in 19 of our 21 matches to date.
Dan joined the club just as momentum to return to National League rugby was developing and of course achieved in the exciting play-off victory at Worthing at the end of the 2004/5 season – a game which Dan cherishes. He was the mainstay of Albion’s five year term at Level 4 and unlike the many more mercenary players who came and went during that term, he and other senior players gradually and carefully marshalled a younger, less experienced side through the turmoils of relegations and into consolidation at Level 6 where Albion’s play this season has been a revelation and putting them back in the frame for possible promotion.
Dan has been equally at home in both the second and back rows, thus providing considerable cover. He has been a good leader of the side as his job as a fire fighter with the Devon & Somerset Fire Service perhaps suggests. He has also secured representative honours with the England and UK Fire Service teams whom he has both captained. In the past two seasons, he has galvanised all those around him to ensure that Albion’s plight was comfortable and this season has been the mainstay for the thrust up the league. He has endured a difficult career in terms of playing results going from the sublime and promotions to the less savoury hard work and relegations. A simple glimpse at his landmarks will indicate the quality of the opposition encountered along the way. Dan will also never forget the meeting with Harlequins in 2005/6 after a good EDF Cup run and that remains a highlight of his career.
With the club now awarding 1st XV caps after 250 appearances, there is no token for this 300th appearance except the club’s sincere gratitude for Dan’s efforts over these past twelve seasons. May they long continue.