FEW sportsmen can boast a playing career that has spanned 48 years.
But that is just what rugby player Scott Collyer, of Sleaford, has achieved.
At the age of 59, many years after most people would have hung up their boots, he played his last game for Sleaford Rugby Club at the end of the 2012/13 season. Now, as he prepares to leave England to live in Canada, the place of his birth, he took a little time out to reflect on a remarkably long playing career.
He said: “One thing’s for certain, I have been incredibly lucky not to have had any serious injuries during my career and also lucky to have been very quick, especially in my younger days”
His passion for rugby began nearly half a century ago at the age of 11 at Sharmans Cross Secondary School in Solihull.
He played at scrum half then, before later moving out to the wing. He described himself as ‘wee midget of a lad’.
Although rugby was always his first love once he started at secondary school, he was keen on most sports and was a very competent athlete.
On leaving school and joining the RAF he continued his passion for sport, becoming an RAF decathlete, as well as playing rugby and football for his command team.
While in the RAF, Scott had the distinction of playing against Clive Woodward and other England internationals.
“Not that I was ever in their class,” he quipped. “Though I did get better as a got older!”
On moving into the Lincolnshire area he played for Stamford Rugby Club at a time when that club was the best in the Three Counties.
While at Stamford he enjoyed one of the highlights of his playing career - scoring six tries in a game against Spalding.
He also played for Stamford in a John Player game against a Liverpool side that included England international Mike Slemen.
Moving to Nottinghan in 1982 he played for Keyworth Rugby Club for a number of years.
He joined Sleaford Rugby Club in 1996 and put in appearances for the club’s first team up to the age of 50. Since then he has played games for the club’s other teams but his love for the sport has never diminished.
He even enjoyed a spell as player coach and has been involved in youth coaching at the club.
He has very much enjoyed his time at Sleaford and said: “It has been really good to watch the club’s progress over the years and to see some of the young players I helped to coach at mini level coming through to play in the first team.”
“Sleaford is a fantastic club, with outstanding facilities and some excellent people. I shall certainly miss the camaraderie.”
Scott is due to jet off to Canada on July 12, where he will live in Nova Scotia.
“I am hoping to still have some involvement with rugby but I have no plans to play again,” he said.