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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John Wallace Allen
  • Born 17 February 1921, Cullion Co Londonderry
  • Died 10 September 1987, Londonderry
  • Educated Foyle College, Londonderry
  • Debut 21 August 1948 v MCC at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 443
  • Style Right-hand bat, slow right-arm
  • Teams City of Derry

Wallace "Waldo" Allen was a powerfully built man who resembled Colin Milburn in physique. However, though he often scored quickly, he was a polished and stylish batsman, who was, "a cricketer who could grace any field," as historian Billy Platt wrote. He hit four centuries in North West Cricket: the best of which was in the Faughan Valley Cup Final of 1946. He destroyed the Waterside attack, striking 176* to record the first ever century in the competition's final.

In the following year he dominated the final again with a dazzling 74 v Brigade including ten 4s and two 6s. In May 1948, in a friendly for City against the Combined Services, he was at it again. Billy Platt recorded: "A feature of the lively game was Wallace Allen's sparkling 90 not out." "Waldo" was also a useful bowler, often coming on when the main bowlers had failed to break through. However he was more than a "golden armer." A slow bowler, who relied mainly on flight, which often proved very effective, he had figures of 7-18 against Brigade in the League in 1941. This was no flash in the pan, as he showed in 1948 when his 5-39 knocked Donemana out of the Cup.

At times he turned in a useful all round performance. In the annual county match with Tyrone in 1948, he almost staved off defeat with 33 and 3-41. In September 1947, he was selected, as a late replacement, to play for Ireland v MCC at Rathmines. In a match which rain limited Ireland to a single innings, he was yorked by Oxonian Mike Wrigley for 0. He was not asked again, but nor were the other debutants, fellow North Westerner Vic Craig and Leinster opener JR Gill who scored a century. There were reasons why these two were passed over, Craig was unavailable, and Gill lost form, but, in what was a far from vintage era for Irish batting, it does seem strange that this highly talented and successful cricketer was destined to remain a "one cap wonder."