Lindsay ‘Old Boys’ team a big hit

Published by: Gary Pearson

Rugby is known around the world as a fast-paced, hard-hitting, high-impact sport. Rugby is also well-known for its positive social aspects of community building and camaraderie within and even between clubs. Leagues that modify the laws of rugby seek to embrace the latter while drastically reducing the risk of injury.

Old Boys rugby – in other jurisdictions known as Masters Rugby or Golden Oldies Rugby – offers players over the age of 35 with a chance to play a fun, yet still competitive game. The “Grumblers” of the Lindsay Rugby Football Club (LRFC) made their successful debut in the spring of 2014. The team name honors LRFC founder Vince Jones and his newsletter, “The Grumbler”, and seems like the perfect fit for the Old Boys rugby team.

In four seasons of Grumblers rugby, the LRFC has built interest within the City of Kawartha Lakes community, played against old rivals in Belleville, Cobourg, and Peterborough, and has added new rivalries with teams from Barrie and Toronto.

According to Club volunteer and Grumblers player, Tom Jeffrey, the league offers older players with a chance to play the sport they love but without the risk of injury. “Anyone over 60 can wear red shorts. Those players can’t be tackled. Players over 70 wear purple and they pretty much play touch,” he said.

Besides the modified tackling rules, the Old Boys games are governed by a simplified set of laws that better suit the aging athlete, including changes to scoring laws (tries only, no conversion or penalty kicks) and allowing unlimited substitutions.

Modified forms of rugby have begun popping up all over the world. In addition to the modified laws in the Old Boys league, recreational and competitive touch leagues offer players a totally different experience of the game with no tackling. Further modifications to the laws of the game have even led to the development of “Walking Rugby” in the UK.

Law modifications allow players of any age and skill level to participate in the game, making rugby available to community members as a truly lifelong pursuit.

According to LRFC Vice President, John Carr, in addition to the men’s side, the Lindsay RFC Old Girls (30+) got in a couple of touch games this year and will be looking to build on that for next year. The Club has also considered adding an adult touch rugby league.

According to John, the door to join in with the Grumblers is always open, “It doesn’t matter if you have never played rugby before or played last in high school or played for the senior men’s team. If you are 35 or older and want to play some fun, competitive rugby, The Grumblers may be the spot.”

The welcoming sentiment is echoed by seemingly everyone involved with the Grumblers. When I first reached out to Tom for information about the team, he responded with a simple and honest question that I’m certain the LRFC would like share with the entire CKL community: “You gonna play Old Boys?”

Rugby is a sport that is played worldwide by men, women, boys and girls. The Lindsay Rugby Football Club was founded on August 10th 1978, by Vince Jones, when a group of former students from the two local high schools, (I.E. Weldon & L.C.V.I) and a few ex-patriate Brits got together at the Victoria Park Armoury to declare their intention of forming a rugby club. Sufficient interest was established, approval by the Ontario Rugby Union was received and the Lindsay R.F.C. was born. The LRFC has grown over the past 39 years to a premier rugby club in Ontario. LRFC runs two Senior Men’s teams that compete at the highest level of club rugby in Ontario, along with Senior Women, U18 Girls and Boys, U16 Girls and Boys, U14 Boys, U12 Co-ed tackle, U10 and U8 Co-ed Flag and an Old Boys team, known as the Grumblers