Simon Jones has stepped down from his role as consultant physiotherapist at the Bedford Blues after 16 seasons of loyal service to the Championship club.
Jones started his tenure with the Goldington Road club in 1997 when the Blues were just about to enter top flight rugby under the guidance of Geoff Cooke, with current director of rugby Mike Rayer a regular member of the senior squad.
Despite enjoying the odd sabbatical to provide his services to Formula One and Ryder Cup winning golf teams, Jones had been a regular fixture at Goldington Road.
After leaving the Royal Marines as a physiotherapist, he took up a number of sports clinic roles prior to joining Bedford and continues to base his Physix Sports Medicine Consultancy out of Manor Hospital in Biddenham.
Speaking about his departure from the Blues, Jones said: “This has been a really tough decision for me but I feel that the time is right to move on.
“There is an exceptional medical set-up at Bedford now led ably by Mair Evans and I know that the players are in extremely safe hands.
“Bedford Blues has been a family to me over the past 16 years and I have loved every single moment of it and it will always be my Club.
“There have been some wonderful highs and the occasional lows but, more importantly, there is a fantastic camaraderie that will remain in place forever more and that is something I will truly miss.
“Working with Mike as both player and coach has been inspirational and it has also been a joy to watch the likes of Sacha Harding and Matt Volland ply their trade over the years.
“I hope that during my tenure I have able to in a small way contribute effectively to those who have passed through the treatment room door.”
The players and coaching staff had the chance to bid Jones adieu at his final training session before the Bristol game.
“Jonesy has been a wonderful servant to the club despite gallivanting around the globe with F1 teams and Ian Poulter and he leaves us with our very best wishes and thanks,” said Rayer.
“The medical staff at the club plays a huge role and it is thanks to all of them that we are continuously able to have fit players putting their bodies on the line week-in week-out.
“Simon has been at the forefront of this over so many years whilst also developing the medical department to a very high standard.
“I think I speak for everyone at the club in wishing him all the success in the world for the future.”