Head Coach Paul Arnold has named himself on the substitutes bench tomorrow for the 1st XV game with Stourbridge for a final time.
Arnold has decided to call time on an illustrious playing career with a final appearance taking him to 450 competitive senior games and hopefully exactly 36 minutes to finish with 27,000 playing minutes.
Paul’s career has seen him play for Sedgley Park, Orrell, Nottingham, Moseley, Caldy, Fylde and Preston Grasshoppers as well Lancashire, England Counties and the Barbarians.
One of the remarkable stats from Arnold’s career is his amazing 125 tries with a strike of better than a try every four games. Considering Arnold has played all but a few games in the second row this is a remarkable achievement.
Ahead of his final game we asked Arnie to look back across his career and reflect on which of his current and former teammates best meet the criteria below.
Oga Mabaya – fantastic work ethic & I’m positive he will come back bigger & stronger after his injury.
Chris Whyles (Nottingham) – He was always training & pushing himself & no wonder he had an amazing career.
Conor Trueman – I reckon Connor but Jobbo wants a race before the end of the season.
Tough one this played with some real flyers Royle & Brennand at Fylde where two unbelievable finishers. David Streetle for England Counties & Dan Norton at Moseley it would be a good race to find out who was the Quickest.
Dan Burns – Sorry Buddy.
Scott Barrow & Chris Johnson two kings of the “slow & Go” they might not of been the quickest of backs running wise but they were always 10 seconds quicker than anyone else in the head unbelievable rugby brains & good lads.
James Fitzpatrick – he’s just one big scary man.
Tim Fourie – The Gaffer always looked after me on the field when I first started out at Sedgley & I owe him a lot for giving me a chance all them years ago.
Tom Davidson – he’s got all the skills.
Rich Kenyon – Great player & even better bloke had all the tricks. His Dummy, Scissors, crossing move was legendary.
Adam Howard – he’s cut a few boys in half this season.
Neil Mason (Moseley) – A tough uncompromising 6 who you was always grateful was on your side.
WORST DRESS SENSE
Sam Stott – it must be a generation thing but leggings on lads is not a great look.
The Briers Brothers – these lads ware some unbelievably bad gear but somehow always seem to pull it off ! I got laughed out of St.Helens on a night out after borrowing a jumper of Chris once.
James Gough – been an unbelievable signing & always taking the piss & laughing.
Adam Jackson – great friend who was always making everyone smile at both Orrell & then Fylde & Lancashire.
PJ – definitely my BFF, Top Bloke & if not at rugby you normally find us very drunk at his house with our other halves who are normally twice as drunk as us.
Liam Mcloughlin – I started playing union when Liam persuaded me to join West Park St Helens in 1996 & we’ve been best mates every since …
Oli Tripps – ever since he’s grown his hair he’s never out the mirror.
Scott Armstrong (Fylde) probably the best looking lad I’ve played with to be fair & I remember him “talcing” himself up for 20 minutes after a game once but as he said everyone loves a feather of a pipe.
AND… WHO’S THE LONGEST IN THE SHOWER
PJ – he will be made up with this.
Warren Spragg – another great friend who had a lot more to wash than me in the shower.
As well as asking him about his teammates we asked Arnie about memorable games from his career.
What was your first game of men’s rugby and what do you remember?
I remember playing for West Park 2s age 17 & getting punched in the face of some 45 year old prop from Widnes & thinking that wasn’t to bad.
What’s the most memorable game you played in during your career? Looking back I’ve got some amazing memories from playing for England Counties on tours all over the world to representing the Barbarians & it’s 10 years since Moseley beat Leeds in the EDF cup final which was a great day but nothing beats My first Twickenham county final with Lancashire in 2003 with an amazing group of lads.
Which game do you most want to forget?
Huddersfield away this year I wasn’t playing but I still get nightmares.
And finally, would you do it all again?
100% yes I’ve met so many friends, visited so many places & made so many memories. The only thing I would change is I’d definitely have trained harder.
Good luck tomorrow Arnie and well done on a fantastic career from everyone at Hoppers!