Originally Posted by johnc
Thanks for all your advice over head guards, it will only be for sparring and the club ones look very old and thin. I have left it a little to late to box in competition (what is the max age)
I would advise to use the ratty club headgear for a while. You're going to get hit and it's going to hurt, but it'll make your senses keener while under fire. You need to get dazed a few times and learn to think while your face is being banged up. It'll accelerate your learning experience by several times.
After you've gotten over the beginner's hump, then feel free to buy your own personal headgear [with mouth guard if you'd like]. It'll offer more protection, better hygiene, and you'll probably be relying more on your skill than headgear by that time to avoid damage.
I hope you have fun sparring!