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Michael Guess comes out of retirement for Southend Rugby Club
MICHAEL Guess celebrated his 30th birthday early by coming out of retirement to help Southend Rugby Club beat Shelford 17-13 at Warners Bridge on Saturday.
Guess was forced to hang up his boots in February after suffering a serious eye injury while in action against Launceston.
The prop forward was told his sight would never be the same.
But an injury crisis at the club led to Guess seeking more medical advice.
And that ultimately led to the former Seasiders captain making a surprise return to action against Shelford.
“It was fantastic to be out there again and I loved every minute of it,” said Guess, who had been working as a coach at the club since his retirement.
“It initially started out as a bit of a joke and when we suffered a few injuries in the friendlies against Rosslyn Park a couple of the other coaches said I would have to come out of retirement.
“It went quiet for a few seconds and then they asked if it was possible to get another medical opinion, so that’s what I did and now I’m back playing again.”
Guess’ initial injury saw his eyeball squashed and disfigured while forming part of a rolling maul.
But further tests revealed his eye-sight had not got worse since he stopped playing and a return to rugby would not be a risk.
“I was told my eye can’t get any worse than it already is and that I’m no more of a risk than anyone else out there playing,” said Guess, who turns 30 on Wednesday.
“I spoke to my wife about the situation but I had really missed playing and I wanted to get back out there.
“I want to be able to choose when I stop playing and not have it forced upon me.
“I also wanted my children to be able to see me play and my only concern was my fitness because I had been making the most of retirement!”
But Guess went straight back into the starting line-up against Shelford.
And he was thrilled to help the Seasiders record their second successive victory at the start of the season.
“It was a good win on Saturday and the mentality of the group is excellent,” said Guess.
“We’ve worked hard to create a new environment and it’s working well so far.
“The coaching set up is good, our young players are now a bit more experienced and we’re doing the basics well too.
“Hopefully that can continue and I’m just pleased I’ll be able to try and make that happen, especially as I thought I would never play again.”