69-year-old Bob Trevail has been playing rugby for Perranporth RFC for over 35 years, with no plans of stopping soon.
A small village on the north coast of Cornwall, Perranporth is known for its sweeping golden dunes and miles of picture-perfect coastline. But travel inwards, on the right past the petrol station, and you’ll find Perranporth Rugby Club.
It’s no Twickenham, that's for sure. The club boasts one pitch in reclaimed marshland at the bottom of the Posmere valley, with a small 2-changing room clubhouse shared between over 150 members. Their senior team ‘The Brewers’ play in the second Cornish League against rival clubs across the county.
The club can be traced back to 1962, when South African Don Russell took over a local coffee bar and rounded up a few locals to form a team. To this day, Perranporth teams wear the Springbok-inspired green and gold strip.
“Perranporth has always been a great community club. We’ve got a good bunch of people and there’s always a good spirit in the club house after a game.”
The Trevail name is one well-known in the community. Back in 1973, Bob founded a haulage company on the outskirts of Perranporth. Now, R.J Trevail serves customers across Cornwall and Devon. Aside from the family business, Bob is a well-known figure at the rugby club. Head down on a Saturday afternoon and you’re likely to find him lacing his boots for a run out for The Brewers.
He first played for the club back in 1984. That same year ‘Ghostbusters’ hit the cinemas, Band Aid released ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’, and the Royal Family welcomed Prince Harry of Wales to the world. Three decades and over a thousand games for Perranporth and local side Newquay Hornets down the line, Bob is a staple of the resident community whose story is stuff of legend at the club.
“I’ll keep playing as long as I’m still able to. I’m still playing at 69, and I’d like to still be playing when I’m 70. When I run out onto the pitch, age doesn’t matter.”
The Cornishman represented Perranporth in their biggest game of the season in 2019: The Vase final against St Just. Bob came on at flanker in a 20-minute cameo at the end of the game. And while the it may have already been won (Perranporth beat St Just 24-3), Bob’s appearance marked an important milestone in itself. In his final-quarter spell, there was a 50-year age difference between Bob and the youngest player on the pitch.
To him it’s no big deal. When I contacted Bob and asked for an interview, he asked why anyone would take the time to read an article about him. He doesn’t see it as anything special; lacing his boots on a Saturday afternoon is just him doing what he loves best: Playing rugby.
And while his days of heavy post-game drinking are for the most-part over, Bob says still enjoys a quiet pint in the clubhouse following a game.
“The younger lads will try and get me involved in their drinking games but I can’t be doing with those. A good pint goes down well after a game but my days of getting pissed up in the clubhouse are done”.
Through the years...