After 32 years of playing rugby for Bridport, Brett Chant has finally hung up his boots. With over 600 caps for the club, the prop had been a reliable presence every week; even now, as he turns 50-years-old this month.

Chanty, as he is better known around the bar at the Bridport Rugby Club, played his first senior game for the Blues at the end of the 1989/90 season. Miraculously, he made his debut for both the second and first teams on the same day and won both games.

He explained: “We had an Easter touring side down and I played the first game for the seconds; finished, changed and got a couple of pints in me to watch the first team play next.

“Tank Harvey got injured 15 minutes into the game and with no replacement loose-head prop I had to get changed and played for the first team.”

Before playing for the senior teams at Bridport, the now gas engineer met with others in The Ropemakers pub one Saturday night to form a colts team after there had not been one for a few years.

Surprisingly, Chant started playing rugby at school as a scrum-half. However, with the seniors, he played across the front row of the scrum whilst additionally having a stint at inside centre for the seconds.

“For the seconds I played inside centre and after a few injuries I ended up alongside Rhys Thomas for the firsts.” He went on to add: “We were a couple of units.”

Over his time at the club, Chanty has played in many successful sides. When he first started playing, when teams were only awarded three points for a try, leagues did not exist for senior rugby.

“I’ve played in many good teams over my years. No particular team stands out, but all the Southern Counties [league] teams were excellent. Within those, Brett Frampton was the best player that I ever played with.

“One team I was in got to the fifth or sixth round of the National Cup after beating Bracknell. I made the Saturday Mail the following round only to say that I wasn’t playing after a clavicle injury the week before.”

Jokingly, Chanty exclaimed that the team probably would have won if he was playing as they only lost by five points.

In his glory years, the prop was approached by Bridport’s local rivals to switch allegiances. He explained: “I was asked to play for the Dorchester First team back in the day; they said it would be my ticket to Dorset caps. But, I declined to stay playing with Bridport with all my mates.

“I’ve probably played against several hundreds of props over the years they would hopefully say ‘he’s a tricky customer with a good technique who could play a bit and don’t forget the great dummy and fantastic hands’.”

Playing for 30 years is fairly remarkable, but to do it as a front-row forward is something else entirely. So what is his secret and why stop now?

“Starting off at 14 stone at 18 [years old] with a 16-inch neck probably. Although everyone who knows me thought I was probably fat all my years, hence the nickname Chunky.

“I used to do 200 sit-ups every other night and 50 press-ups, obviously having some breaks for Friday, Saturday and Sunday piss ups.

“I decided to retire before the 50 mark as I am old and broken from playing so many years; I am always on my knees at work and at home bowing to the wife.”

Chanty suggests that his now-free Saturday afternoons will be lined up with jobs around the house from his wife Vanessa. However, he looks forward to being able to get down the club to join the other retired players in drinking beers and cheering on the players.

“A big thanks must go to my Vanessa and my kids Euan and Emily for supporting ad letting the old boy play for so long.”