After recently celebrating his 80th birthday, North-East Masters' Jim Collins became England's fourth-ever blue short Masters Rugby League player. He joins Jim Airnes, Brian Rishworth and Ray Timson as a Masters Blue-shorter.
Jim turned out for the first time in his Blue shorts at the Cumbria Masters Festival in Carlisle playing in two games against Barrow Masters and Golborne Parkside Masters.
I met up with Jim in the bar after the games as he sat proudly wearing his England Masters polo enjoying the social side of Masters Rugby League.
Jim was delighted to have been awarded Masters of Festival on the day but wanted to focus on how much he enjoyed Masters Rugby League. Jim only started to play Masters five years ago and commented on how warmly he had been received. He spoke with feeling as he explained how goo it was at his age to be able to play in a contact game of rugby even though he was “tigging” to tackle and “tagged” to be tackled. Jim played for England Masters in the 2021 International Tournament against Canada, Ireland and Wales describing this as “icing on the cake”.
Masters Rugby League Chair, Martin Flynn, spoke for all Masters “Jim made his Masters Rugby League debut in 2017 as a sprightly 75-year-old and immediately bought in to the concept of Masters. Jim is well-known and hugely respected throughout the Masters Rugby League community and is warmly welcomed wherever he turns up to play.”
Asked how long he would continue to play Jim was very clear “as long as I can”.
We all look forward to seeing Jim out “tackling” young Masters for many years to come