North Ribblesdale Legend Not Ready to Retire
North Ribblesdale Rugby Club started their new season in the Northern League Yorkshire Division Two against West Park Leeds Rugby Club this afternoon. The match also marked the start of the thirty-sixth consecutive season for the club’s longest-serving player forward John Thwaite who is now close to playing his 1,000 game for the club.
Having joined the club as a sixteen year old he made his first team debut for the club at the age of eighteen, today Thwaite came on as a second half substitute at Grove Park against West Park Leeds as he started his thirty-sixth season and he has no plans to hang up his boots anytime soon.
The fifty-four year old has barely missed a match in the last three decades and continues to train twice a week with the team. There are several moments in his career that stand out as highlights, but perhaps his biggest was the opportunity to play alongside his three sons in the same side tops the list.
Speaking about his career John Thwaite said, “I went along as a teenager to watch both my brothers play and when I turned eighteen I started playing for the first team, playing as a prop there is no hiding and I love that there is a battle every game against your opponent.
I live on a farm and I’m a builder so I’ve always been pretty active so there’s no real secret to how I’ve been able to play for so long. I love the sport, there is something on that pitch for everybody, it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are everyone can fulfil a role in a rugby team and that is so unique. I don’t know how long I can carry on for as I’m not getting any younger, even if I’m not playing I will still always be around North Ribblesdale RFC. It’s where I’ve grown up.”