Rugby star Brian, 80, given a guard of honour

Brian in his light-blue shorts.Brian in his light-blue shorts.
Brian in his light-blue shorts.
A rugby player in Wakefield was given a guard of honour after running out for a match at the tender age of 80.

Grandad Brian Rishworth, who plays for Eastmoor Dragons in the over 35s’ Masters Rugby League, is only the second ever player to be awarded the light blue shorts - signifying his birthday milestone.

Under Masters rules, age categories have certain coloured shorts to signify if they can be tackled, tagged or if no contact is permitted.

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And for retired engineer Brian, who turned 80 the day before the game against Stanley Rangers, he admitted the attention was not to his usual taste.

Brian says he will continue playing for as long as possible.Brian says he will continue playing for as long as possible.
Brian says he will continue playing for as long as possible.

He said: “I felt a little bit embarrassed by the guard of honour but it was nice of them to do it.”

Having lived in Eastmoor for 77 years, he has been involved with Eastmoor rugby since his early 20s.

The only other player to have received the light-blue shorts was a man from Blackpool, who played until he was 84, but Brian - who took part in competitive road running until his 60s - is not setting a date for his retirement just yet.

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He said: “It felt good to get the shorts, I set a target at 60-year-old to play until I was 70, then at 70 I set a target for 80.

“As long as I enjoy it, I will still carry on. It does take a few days to recover though!”

While the weekend’s game ended in a draw, it is the camaraderie forged between teammates that keeps Brian coming back.

He said: “You make a lot of friends and you can’t beat the banter in the dressing room and on the field.”

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Alan Dicken a coach of the Masters team said: “Brian is as dedicated as they come, this is clear by his desire to keep doing what he loves, despite his age. To him, age doesn’t matter!

“He’s honest, reliable and is the epitome of a master. He’s a cracking bloke, with a wicked sidestep and fitness that defies his years. He is an Eastmoor legend.”