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COVENTRY Rugby is saddened to report the passing of one its finest players, John Gardiner, who died yesterday following a short illness, aged 92.

A No.8, John was a member of the famous Coventry and Warwickshire packs of the 1950s and 60s. He was one very few to pass 400 appearances for the club, playing a total of 401 games, and was the first – and still one of only two – Cov forwards to reach a century of tries, finishing on 107.

From his debut in the 1949/50 season to his retirement in 1963/64, John made 30-plus appearances in a season on nine occasions with a highest of 38 in 1957/58.

He made his Warwickshire debut in 1950 and, going on to make close to 50 appearances, played in the winning County Championship sides of 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1962.

John was selected for just one England trial, the belief always being that his rather laid-back look on things possibly cost him more.

For many years, John was chairman of the club’s social committee whilst also undertaking groundman’s duties.

He is survived by wife of 62 years, Beryl, children David, Andy and Clare, grandchildren Chloe, Amy, Molly, Joe, Ryan and Sophie, and great grandchildren Dottie, Lacey, Leo and Perri, to whom the club sends its sincerest wishes and condolences.

A minute’s silence will be observed before Saturday’s home game against Darlington Mowden Park.