Cyril Hayward, a stalwart of Old Yardleians, organiser of the Combined Birmingham Old Boys team and a well-known North Midlands referee and referee assessor has died after a brave battle against cancer.
Hayward was a prolific points scorer during his playing career, kicking 100 of the points that Old Yardleians scored in 1961.
He continued to devote himself to the club after he retired from playing and served as Chairman, Match Secretary and Fixture Secretary.
He was also instrumental in establishing Old Yardleians’ colts team and was a driving force behind the COBs and Greater Birmingham teams before the advent of league rugby.
It was as a referee, then an assessor, that Hayward’s passion for rugby came to a wider audience and he became a popular figure at clubs across the North Midlands for officiating in his own inimitable fashion.
Legend has it that Hayward never owned a watch and preferred to use pavilion clocks or his own calculation of time to determine the length of matches.
On one occasion, when refereeing a match at King Edward’s School, Hayward used the clock on the tower at nearby Birmingham University as his time keeper. Unfortunately, fog descended early in the second half and obscured the clock which led to a second half that lasted, by conservative estimates, at least an hour.
Despite deteriorating health, Hayward retained his passion for rugby – and Old Yardleians in particular – as well as his sharp it and strong opinions.