Special day at Cheltenham Civil Service as club marks rugby-playing Steve Yiend’s 70th birthday

Author: Roger Jackson, The Local Answer

George VI was king and Clement Attlee was Prime Minister when Steve Yiend was born just over 70 years ago.

That was on 15th December 1949 and the world we live in today is unrecognisable from those austere, post-war days, when food rationing and conscription were part and parcel of daily life.

But while so much has changed over the years, one thing that hasn’t is Steve Yiend’s love of all things rugby; a love that began from an early age.

And remarkably, even though he is now in his eighth decade, he is still playing the great game that is rugby for Cheltenham Civil Service.

Regular readers will remember that Yiend spoke to The Local Answer at the end of 2017, just before his 68th birthday, when he said he wanted “to continue playing for as long as I can”.

And the good news is that, not only is he still playing rugby, he’s playing pretty regularly too because, as well as turning out for CCS Vets, he’s also getting games in the club’s 2nds as well.

Recently, Steve played for the club’s Veterans against Old Cryptians Vets at Tewkesbury Road – a match Service won 28-26.  Even in a career packed with so many memories, this was a red letter day for him, because he was presented with a framed No.6 shirt before the game to mark his 70th birthday.

“Yes, it was a great day and it’s always nice to win,” said Yiend.

The blindside flanker played the first 40 minutes, although it has to be said that it was something of a backs-to-the-wall effort early on, as the home side found themselves trailing 19-7 at the break.

“We were 19-0 down at one stage but we got a try just before half-time,” continued Yiend. “Then we put some of our younger guys on; we’ve got some good players in their early 40s who can still run!  We went 28-19 ahead before they scored a late try.”

It was Yiend’s fifth game of the season – he’s twice played a full 80 minutes – and he’s certainly not playing just to make up the numbers.

“They chuck me up in the air at the lineouts,” he said. “I’m only 13 stone, I jump at two.

“If someone runs at me in open play I can still tackle them, but if they run two yards either side of me I can’t get them because I haven’t got the legs.”

Yiend goes to the gym twice a week and also goes swimming to keep himself in shape.  He is enjoying his rugby as much as ever, even though he can be playing against players a third of his age.

“People are very good,” he said. “Obviously they can see I’m a bit older but they’re very respectful.”

So has he got any plans to play again soon?

“Oh yes,” he said with a laugh. “I’m playing for Cheltenham Civil Service 2nds against Old Cryptians 3rds!”