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Evan Stewart is director of sport at Portsmouth Grammar School, having previously worked at the King’s School Macclesfield and Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

 

A rugby fanatic, he played for Loughborough University, Macclesfield, Fylde and Vale of Lune, making close to 300 national league appearances.  

 

What school (s) did you go to?

 

Rainey Endowed School in Northern Ireland

 

What’s your earliest sporting memory?

 

Playing football, rugby and any other sport with my brother and cousins in our back garden. We were all sport mad and could turn a game of 2v2 into a World Cup final in any chosen sport.

 

Who were your sporting heroes growing up?

 

Eric Cantona, not because I thought I could copy any of his skills, but my family support Manchester United and he was obviously an unbelievable talent. Also Jonah Lomu. I was lucky enough to see him play against Scotland in the 1999 World Cup as a teenager. He changed how people saw and played rugby forever.

 

What are your sporting memories of school?

 

Winning the then rugby School Bowl in my upper sixth year at Rainey was certainly a high point.

 

What are your best and worst sporting memories of school?

 

The low point was losing by over 60 points when in year 11. Playing in the centre, certainly not my best position against a then upper sixth player called Andrew Trimble who went on to win numerous caps for Ulster and Ireland. He must have scored three tries by going around, over and through me at will during that game.

 

Can you recall a memorable sporting teacher?

 

A teacher called Charlie Simpson still teaches at Rainey today and I am sure is still inspiring budding sportsmen and women.

 

What sports do you play these days?

 

I recently retired from playing competitive sports and especially rugby which I played from the age of four. But I still enjoy the gym, running and swimming.

 

In what other ways do you stay healthy?

 

Having a toddler and two mad dogs keeps me on my toes.

 

What is your favourite sporting memory?

 

Winning the Bill Beaumont County Cup final at Twickenham with my wife Megan and son Ethan there with my parents. This was my last game of rugby and it was a perfect way to finish with all the important people in my life there to share in it.

 

What’s been your most embarrassing sporting moment?

 

When at school I was playing for the 1st XV and got into a bit of a scrap with an opposition player (not something I am proud of might I add). We were squaring up to each other and about to fight when I felt something poke me in the back. It was my mum from the sideline with her umbrella and she said ‘Don’t you dare.’

 

What’s your biggest sporting bugbear?

 

Coaches and parents who shout at their teams during a game. I am all for encouragement and passion but just shouting run, pass, tackle and dribble etc isn’t really helping anyone. Supporting your team or kids is great, but let the kids play and enjoy it and not worry about the 20 to 30 instructions they are receiving all at the same time!

 

When was the last time you cried at a sporting event?

 

After my last game of rugby.

 

Which three sports people would you like to have around for dinner and why?

 

Mohammed Ali - one of the greatest showmen and boxers ever. I would just love to hear the stories about how he won some of his fights before he even entered the ring and more importantly how he managed to keep going when things weren’t always going his way.  George Best – another special talent who would have some great stories to tell about his life. Finally Paula Radcliffe – I would often see her around Loughborough when at university. She had some unbelievable highs and some pretty big lows. I would be fascinated to hear about how she dealt with both aspects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY SPORTING LIFE