Verteran Rugby Case Studies
Richard Ewence - Veterans Rugby at Maidstone FC
Maidstone Rugby has been running a 'ring-fenced' veterans XV for around 23 years and it is one of the most important sides out of the 6 in the senior club, as it provides a disproportionate number of committee members and volunteers when it comes to the running of the club; it also makes the biggest contribution to bar profits!
The veterans side has a full fixture list, consisting of around 28 fixtures per season and it trains every Thursday and plays every Saturday. If the opposition happen to cry off, they play a quick 10s match amongst themselves rather than go without their weekly rugby fix. The team tours every spring and the average age on tour is normally around 49. Currently, the oldest player is around 64 (although he looks older) and until recently there was a 71 year old playing. At that age, he could still hold his own for 80 minutes in the 2nd row, but to be fair, he'd lost a bit of pace around the park.
As well as the actual Maidstone side, there are loads of other vets sprinkled throughout the club, playing for sides from 1st team to 5th team with an unusually large concentration in the 3rd team where they form the bulk of the club's most consistent side. In fact, when the Evergreen Cup comes around, it is the 3rd team that provides most of the players, led by their 61 year old skipper, who still thinks that he is part of the club's youth policy. Overall, it seems safe to say that veterans rugby in Maidstone is very much alive and throbbing.
Anyone who wishes to join or find out more should go to: www.maidstonerugby.org.uk/veterans/veterans.html
Alan Frener - Salisbury Vets
At 61 I am about to embark on my 50th year playing Rugby, although there have been some gaps. I play for Salisbury Vets, who regularly field several players well into their 50s. We have a full list of fixtures, and often find ourselves playing 2nds, 3rds and even occasionally 1sts with a few 2nds.
Over the last four or five years we have consistently won far more than we have lost, and in fact, three seasons ago we had the best playing record of any of the senior club sides, only losing two of our 20-odd fixtures.
In the last five years I have only missed two matches, one of those due to moving house. Two years ago, when our 4ths folded, the Vets took on their fixtures as well. I think I ended up playing nearly 30 matches that season.
We take our job of being Vets very seriously, including propping up the bar for long periods, having our own song book, which we rehearse as often as possible, are on film walking off the return flight from our tour in Hungary, on our knees singing "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, etc," indulge in some splendid banger and continue to enjoy our Rugby.
Geraint Pugh - Croydon RFC (Formerly Shirley Wanderers)
Croydon RFC have been running the Evergreens Trophy, an over 35s KO competition, for many years. In recent years, we have instituted a plate competition for those knocked out in the first round. Both finals are to be played this ear at our home ground on Sunday, 13th May 2007.
We also started the Jeffcoat Trophy 4 years ago. It is an over 40s ten-a-side tournament of 7 minutes each way. Teams play on pools with the winners going on to a 20-minute final. Teams start each tame with bonus points dependent on the ages of their players. This year the tournament is on Sunday, 29th April.
Both tournaments fill quickly each year. For more information please visit: www.croydonrfc.com
John Ketteringham - Old Brodleians Veterans
We have been touring abroad for 26 seasons, usually mid-March; initially in Holland and Belgium, also Prague and across Spain in the last few years.
Last year we went to Berlin, but were unable to play due to frozen pitches. Therefore, the Old Prussians from Berlin are travelling to play us this year on 6th October 2007; they are also playing in Doncaster.
We will be touring again next March (2008),probably back to Benidorm. We were there in March and played against Denia and Elche Vets and promised to return as there is a vets tournament on. We are awaiting confirmation of the dates.