Bob Turner first played Rugby at school in Bridlington in 1946. He was picked as full back but in his words; “I couldn’t kick, catch or pass quickly, so I was re-allocated to Loose Head Prop, where I’ve stayed ever since.” His last game for Bridgnorth First XV was aged 59 and he has gone on to represent Bridgnorth and, in fact, England, in Zurich aged 71, playing with ‘The Knights’ – or veterans, but chuckles that he wasn’t the oldest! Indeed at a Golden Oldies Tournament in Manila the average age of one team was 68 and the oldest player 92!
Over the years, Bob has held various posts within the club; He was Club Captain for six years, Chairman for four, Club President for four years and has been on the Committee since 1962 – a staggering 48 years of service.
Bob is passionate about the club; “I owe my life to Bridgnorth Rugby Club. I was on about my fourth pint of Guinness and probably my 30th Senior Service [cigarette] in the Falcon, Christmas 1961, when the landlord mentioned there was an invitation from two Bridgnorth schoolmasters to join a training session on the Crown Meadow. So I turned up on January 4th 1962, a day I remember well. I thought I was going to die. I stopped smoking that day and gradually dragged my body into some degree of fitness.”
That decision proved vital; Bob is as fit and healthy a man in his 70’s as you could ever meet and still takes a hands-on role running his hugely successful company FRS here in Bridgnorth.
The advent of the club provided a hugely valuable facility for the community. Bob explains; “When the club started, despite there being a very active Boy’s Club in Bridgnorth, there were limited things for young people to do, and with no leisure centre or swimming pool at that time, sporting facilities were very restricted. Young boys and girls joined from all over the area, delighted to have a rugby club in the town. The Club flourished, regularly raising five teams, and participating in top level Midlands Leagues. As the players got older, the 4th XV or ‘The Knights’ gradually became the Veterans’ side.” Bridgnorth Rugby Club currently has a wide membership of playing and social members and over the years, the club has provided many townsfolk with happy memories and sporting glories. Bob has documented the history of the club and it makes fascinating reading – and hilarious viewing of some of the photographs! Meanwhile, the Minis are recruiting young eager players and Bridgnorth Rugby Club can rightfully claim to provide Rugby for a wide age group, from 5 to 70, both male and female. To reinforce this drive to encourage new blood of all ages and both sexes, Bridgnorth have started an Academy for both girls and boys.
Bob has seen the club he loves grow and flourish and is now a Trustee rarely missing a First team game. As he says “Rugby is a sport on its own. You may have animosity on the field but it seldom strays off. It creates life long friendships. If I had a pound for every hour of enjoyment I have had out of Rugby I would be a wealthy man indeed”.
Registration for the mini and junior section of Bridgnorth Rugby Club is on Sunday 12th September from 10am at the Edgar Davies Ground.
For any enquiries about the club please visit the website www.bridgnorthrfc.co.uk.