Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

At 67, Ray Finally Gets His Chance to Take on the Masters; Ray Timson Will Get His First Taste of Representative Rugby League This Summer - When He Plays for Great Britain in Australia. the 67-Year-Old Told Nick Purewal How He Will Not Let Fate Wreck His Second Chance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

At 67, Ray Finally Gets His Chance to Take on the Masters; Ray Timson Will Get His First Taste of Representative Rugby League This Summer - When He Plays for Great Britain in Australia. the 67-Year-Old Told Nick Purewal How He Will Not Let Fate Wreck His Second Chance

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

HE cannot recall the exact year, but Ray Timson has no trouble remembering the pang in his stomach.

The Sunderland RLFC stalwart has felt it every time he has watched a big game on the TV since.

Aged roughly 20 and raring to make his debut for Bradford amateurs against their Hull counterparts, a polio epidemic at the mouth of the Humber put paid to his big break. The city in quarantine, rugby league was most certainly off the agenda, but at the time Timson had no idea his opportunity had so fleetingly drifted away.

As the years passed and the chances kept eluding him, Timson came to feel fate had robbed him, and that gnawing feeling grew ever stronger.

So imagine the retired lecturer's surprise when at 67 years young he received the call he thought would never come.

Selected for the Great Britain team to take on Australia and New Zealand down under, Timson is revelling in his Indian summer, shocked he has been handed this unexpected lifeline.

"I honestly thought it would never happen now," said the former vocational preparation lecturer.

"I thought the chance had certainly gone, but it is a fantastic feeling and it has given me a new lease of life.

"I've kept myself fit and have played in as many vets competitions as possible, but this came totally out of the blue.

"When that match against Hull was cancelled all those years ago for a while I didn't give it any thought, but as time wore on I realised I might not get the chance to play at a decent level again. I've never been to Australia before, so this is a great opportunity." Masters Rugby League is new to Britain, but the Kiwis and Aussies have been hard at it for 10 years.

Players aged 35 and over who have retired from club rugby are eligible, with men of different ages sporting different coloured shorts to determine their contact levels.

Those aged between 35 and 39 can engage in full contact and wear white shorts, while the 40-49 bracket wear black shorts and also tackle fully. But the red shorts brigade, aged between 50-59, cannot be tackled fully, only physically stopped by holding, while for the over 60s who wear gold touchtackling is mandatory. …

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