John Goldman is not your average Jewish rugby player. For starters, he is 68, on average 43 years the senior of his teammates at Mill Hill RFC. But even more remarkably, he has survived cancer twice and had a heart bypass.
The tight head prop has featured in 22 games this season, including 14 for the full 80 minutes.
Having survived the medical traumas, Goldman recently returned to action following a 35-year layoff following encouragement from his wife, Linda. He said: “I went to watch Hendon and was persuaded to turn out at second-row in the scrum. I was with them for seven years before moving to Mill Hill where I have played front row for the club’s 2nds ever since.”
Last Chanukah, while on holiday in America, he played for the Marin Reds against Berkeley in San Francisco.
“Sometimes I will play after having done my rota on security at a local shul as a sort of warm-up,” he said.
He has averaged in the region of 20 matches per season for the past 17 years, during which time he has endured “some temporary blips along the way to overcome cancer, a heart by-pass and the odd broken bone”.
He said: “I know I will not be able to get games regularly for much longer, if only because the lads are getting tired of sharing the changing room with someone old enough to be their grandfather, and who makes a such a mess around the place with his matzos.”