Ade Jebb’s Ultimate XV

Date: 09 January 2012

In our now weekly feature we ask for people’s ‘Ultimate XV’ of players that have played with or against. This week it is the turn of 2nd XV manager Ade Jebb.

I’ve been affiliated to Hoppers since 1997 (ish) and I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a number of guys who will rightly be added to its long and distinguished history. I’m extremely proud to have played for such a great club and was extremely humbled when Gareth Dyer asked me to make my selection.

Whilst it’s impossible to thank all those who have helped and guided me in my time at Hoppers I would like to thank Ted Edwards and Pete Carter. They taught me a lot about senior rugby when I started playing for the second team and I still remember the nights we used to have in O’Neills and the Dilshad.

I went on to make my first team debut away at Blackheath on the day of the 1999 World Cup Final and was lucky enough to have played with the likes of John Chesworth, Neil Ashton, Brian Wellens and Gary Monaghan. As a result I got the opportunity to play all over the country in the National Leagues against some of England’s most famous clubs. Therefore it’s incredibly hard to make this selection but I tried to base it on those players who made the greatest impression on me.

1. Martin Scott – A genuine character who has had a number of battles with Hoppers over the years. Was capped by Scotland and was always a really tough opponent. However he was always good value for a laugh and beer after the game despite what may have happened on the pitch.

2. Graham Dawe – When I first moved to the North West I used to go down to watch Sale play at Heywood Road and I’d heard stroies about Dawe running his farm and still commuting up and down the M6 to train and play for the club. A few seasons later I played against him in his capacity as Player Coach at Plymouth Albion. Despite his advancing years he was the fittest forward on the park and I remember thinking that I had broken my ribs after he had literally picked me up and dumped me on my backside. After the game he shared some good stories in the bar and appeared to have time for anybody who wanted a chat.

3. Toby Foster – Along with Peterson and Sands, Toby gave Hoppers a front-row to be feared. Came over from NZ and became an integral part of the club both on and off the field. Was a big loss when he left.

4. Will James – You know that you’re up against it when your opposite number scores a hat-trick in the opening fifteen minutes. We had the misfortune of coming up against Plymouth Albion when they were flying up the leagues and endured a real thrashing in front of a couple of thousand passionate Devonians. James, who is a bull of a man went on to play for Wales and is still a key member of Gloucester’s first team squad.

5. Martin Boyd – A close call with Wayne Steel but Boydie’s line out prowess just has the edge. Taught me a lot about line-out play and set a real example with his fitness and dedication.

6. Alex Sanderson – My final game for Fylde before joining Hoppers was against a Sale development side at Heywood Road. Had the misfortune of coming up against not one Sanderson, but two. The pair of them dominated the game on their own but Alex stood out due to his aggression and ball carrying capabilities. But for injuries and Richard Hill he probably should have won more England caps.

7. Glyn Dewhurst/Steve Fee – I’ve picked two guys at 7 as I could not sperate them. Glyn’s defence was always outstanding and he had the knack of turning over ball from seeming lost causes. I only wish my defence had been half as good as Glyn’s. Steve Fee came over from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand and whilst he was only in Preston for a season or so he made a lasting impression on me. Stevie enjoyed a fag and a few beers but he was always the winner when we did Brian Wellens’ legendary fitness sessions. He was also really strong defensively and had the skills that most backs would have been happy with.

8. Rich Morton – Just shades out Juan Crous but Rich gave the squad a real lift when he joined from Manchester with his defensive capabilities and his consistent level of performance which frequently involved him putting his head in the most dangerous of places. A talented footballer who also enjoys 7’s as much as he does a good Sara Lee. A really nice bloke who but for a few injuries could easily have played to a higher level.

9. Charlie Dupre – Fiercely competitive Yorkshireman who was a real crowd favourite in his time at Lightfoot Green. Played with a smile on his face but took every defeat personally. A genuinely nice bloke whose father’s vintage wine collection was stuff of legend.

10. Michael Lough – I’ve known Loughy since he came over from Adelaide and he’s comfortably one of the best players I’ve played with. Exceptionally skillful and scored a prolific number of tries. Currently doing really well as coach of the second team which makes up for Australia’s recent sporting failures.

11. Steve Hanley – I played a handful of matches with Steve for UCLan before he signed for Sale Sharks. It was obvious that he was an emerging talent, blessed with great power and finishing ability. He went on to become one of the Premiership’s all time leading try scorers.

12. Julian Lamb – Julian was another who gave me a warm welcome when I first joined Hoppers. I remember him being equally comfortable at fly-half or centre and seem to think that he played at Northampton earlier in his career. Additionally he could have also have earned a living as a credible Pierce Brosnan impersonator.

13. Rich Kenyon – Exceptionally talented rugby player whilst he makes a mean cheese too. Played against him a number of times over the years and he is another who seemed to save some of his best performances for the derby matches. Came out of retirement and is still an integral part of the Fylde backline, is by no means out of place in National 1.

14. Neil Kerfoot – Whilst I don’t know Neil personally I remember that he always seemed to score against Hoppers for Orrell or Waterloo and that he seemed to give our defence a torrid time.

15. Olly Viney – Has just returned from a successful stint in Australia and whilst he has signed for the “enemy” he will be remembered fondly by all those who played with him at Hoppers. His lightning pace and sidestep mean that a lot of defences will be having nightmares over his return to these shores.


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