Over one of the hottest ever bank holiday weekends our very own Mr Allen, along with Old Bedfordian Andy Gomarsall MBE (88-93), took up the challenge of breaking the world record for the longest-ever match of full-contact rugby – and they did it!

During the Guinness World Record-breaking two-day match at London Irish’s training grounds, Mr Allen’s and Andy Gomarsall’s charities: Wooden Spoon and School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) went head-to-head. The two teams, who had just 23 players each, played for a total of 30.5 hours to fundraise for their target of £100,000, which they are well on their way to achieving. Andy Gomersall’s team won the match but both sides racked up incredible scores: 2,154 to 1,163!

Mr Allen told us, “When my good friend Andy Gomarsall said he was playing, but they were still a couple of players short, I, somewhat foolishly, jumped at the chance. Both Wooden Spoon and School of Hard Knocks are fantastic charities that offer amazing opportunities to so many disadvantaged people. I was very lucky with my rugby career and enjoyed experiences that most people could only dream of so I was very happy to give a little bit back to the sport. That said, I don’t think I quite considered the enormity of the challenge when I signed up at relatively short notice!

“While it was physically and mentally shattering, it was a fantastic experience. I only got 45 minutes’ sleep, and my legs felt as though they had completely seized up, but I seemed to go into autopilot and switch off from the pain during the last 10 hours!”

Mr Allen

The support from the army of volunteers was amazing. There was a group of ladies and boys that acted as water carriers. They ran on after every try was scored, carrying bottles of water, electrolyte replacements and snacks to keep us going. They were so positive and supportive they really helped us through the dark (both literal and metaphorical) times!

I hadn’t realised quite how much of a mental challenge it would be. I quite enjoyed playing through the night, and watching the sun come up was lovely, but when we got to 10.00am and the realisation that it was already really hot and we still had another eight hours to go hit – the biggest challenge became the psychological side of things.

A few members of our team have taken part in previous record matches. I can’t see why they keep coming back for more – I can tell you now, I definitely won’t be doing it again!”

“That was beyond brutal and one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life! The heat at times was unbearable. I’m delighted for both teams that we broke the record and with so much money being raised for such an important cause it was an unforgettable two days.” 

Andy Gomarsall, SOHK patron, World Cup finalist and Old Bedfordian

Thank you to everyone for their fantastic support, either at the match or by making a donation. If you would like to show your support for Mr Allen and Andy Gomarsall and their two charities, you can still make a donation here.


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