Great-grandad, 70, from Northampton still a rugby legend

Martin Robson at The Romany pub in Kingsthorpe NNL-150602-091234001
Martin Robson at The Romany pub in Kingsthorpe NNL-150602-091234001

A great-grandfather from Northampton, who celebrated his 70th birthday playing rugby, said the secret to his health is “keeping the balance of life.”

Martin Robson, from East Hunsbury, has been playing rugby for more than 60 years. He currently plays prop for Northampton Heathens, the team he played against when he joined his first club in Bletchley.

Martin Robson on the pitch (old sponsors t-shirt) NNL-150602-092413001

Martin Robson on the pitch (old sponsors t-shirt) NNL-150602-092413001

He moved to the town 25 years ago after starting work for former meat company, Benny Foods, said to have been the first brand to bring thinly- sliced cooked meat to the UK, revolutionising the sandwich industry.

He is now a site manager for a Wellingborough-based industrial cleaning company.

Mr Robson said: “I have always only done things I wanted to do and enjoyed. I don’t plan to retire anytime soon and I will keep playing rugby until the rest of the team tell me I’m embarrassing them.

“You can talk to me in 50 years and I will probably still be here, doing the same thing.”

Mr Robson recently celebrated his birthday on the pitch, starting against Long Buckby 2nd XV, followed by an afternoon in the team’s local pub, The Romany, in Trinity Avenue in Kingsthorpe.

He said: “I love my rugby. I have no natural ability whatsoever, but I think it is the ultimate team sport.

“It encapsulates everything that is important about life; it involves will-power, self-discipline and a certain amount of bravery.

“You have to really be able to work as a team and know each other’s weaknesses, because every game brings up new problems.

“It’s a mental, as well as a physical, challenge.”

Mr Robson splits his time between work, rugby and spending time with his family: his wife, Pat, his two children, three grandchildren and six-month-old great-grandchild.

Commenting on how he fits everything in, he said: “It’s all about keeping a balance.

“I have never sacrificed things I love to do or are important.

“I love the philosophy of the rugby world. Once you are in, you are always welcomed by any other club in the country.”

Mr Robson first learned to play rugby when he was a student at Edge Grove School in Hertfordshire where, he said, the coaching was of an international standard.

He now plays with the Heathens every weekend and, in all his years playing the sport, he said he has sustained little more than a couple of broken fingers and a few cracked ribs.

However, now aged 70, he said: “Things are a bit more difficult and I know I am not as strong as I used to be, even though props have a reputation for longevity.

“My way of getting around that was to lose a bit of weight and make sure I was handling players that I could manage. I also avoid being out when it’s very cold and I let the younger players have their chance first, as they are the future of the club.

“I don’t have the secrets to life to give anyone, I just know what suits me.”