Top of the props: the Dinnington rugby man still playing at 47

Top of the props: the Dinnington rugby man still playing at 47

By David Beddows | 13/01/2022

Top of the props: the Dinnington rugby man still playing at 47


RUGBY survivor Garry Woodcock is still leading from the front at an age when many have hung up the boots and slipped quietly away into retirement.

Garry, aged 47, puts his body on the line every week for Dinnington Rugby Club even though it keeps reminding him he's getting on in years.

“I manage to play 60 or 70 minutes and then I'm done,” says the prop forward. “My knees are in bits and I can't get up off my chair at work until about Thursday.”

Despite the aches and pains, Dinnington's first team head coach is far being a passenger for the Yorkshire League side.

“The average age of the team is about 23-and-a-half, and that includes me at 47!” he smiles.

“What the others say is that when I'm on the pitch there's a bit of a calming influence. They know what's coming and that's been a big plus for the team.”

Even though Garry works down in Cambridge as an operations director for a construction company, that doesn't keep him away from training sessions back at Dinnington in midweek.

“I never miss a Tuesday or Thursday except when the A1 is crap,” he says. “ I travel back every night and then go back down the next morning.

“I wouldn't choose to miss it either. It's a fantastic club with a great atmosphere and it has really been good this year with the young players coming through.”

Rugby has coursed through Garry's veins since he was in his teens.

He started playing at 17, first in rugby league before moving to union.

He was a junior at Rotherham when they were surging up through the leagues and it was at Clifton Lane where he met his now best friend, Simon Bunting.

“I was a Colt there when 'Bunny’, Richard Selkirk, John Dudley, Craig West, Dave Scully and the Gresser twins played and they went up nine seasons in a row.

“I used to get a slap off Bunny because I went to Wickersley Comp and he went to Maltby.”


Garry's long and varied CV includes stints for club, county and country.

He's played for Crigglestone and Great Britain Vets at RL and for the Yorkshire Vets and North of England Vets at union.

He joined Dinnington at the “tender” age of 36, since when he's racked up approaching 250 appearances.

Coaching commitments mean he has to curb his training these days, saving his energies for match days.

He's helped Dinnington into the higher reaches of Yorkshire One after three straight wins before Christmas, including taking the scalp of leaders Middlesbrough.

As another year gets underway for the resilient veteran, retirement isn't on his mind, although he admits things aren't getting any easier.

“I didn't think I was going to have to play (this season),” he says.

“I nearly had to get ‘Bunny’ out of the retirement the other week because we were short in the front row but we managed to find one.

“I would like to play until I'm 50 because I know Bunny packed in at 50 and we are best mates, but the top half of Yorkshire One is a fair old level. I don't think I've seen many other 47-year-olds running around on the field.”













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