Boxing Day 2012 saw Bill Johnston’s testimonial match take place at Lightfoot Green. A programme was put together for the occasion which contained photos and comments from past players. Part of the programme involved Bill selecting an Ultimate XV of players he had played with, played against and coached during his time at Lightfoot Green. The extract below is taken from the Boxing Day 2012 programme.
Bill Johnston’s Best 1st XV Squad: Billy’s Heroes
I have picked a squad; because unlike when I was Chairman of Selectors … I can!! Reminds me of when Roy Dransfield was captain. He would come in to the meeting, listen avidly, then ignore everyone and pick his own side…. Sorry Roy! (But not really!)
Frank Blackhurst: Immensely strong – very useful for moving rugby posts!
Andy Procter: Lancashire player – Captain motivator; always led by example.
Brent Horton: Most difficult prop to play against. Also a very good captain.
Steve Borthwick: International Captain. Stood out from the crowd from a very early age.
Wade Doolley: Fantastic athlete. Wonder if he still has two pairs of boots?
Mickey Parker: Always wanted Mickey on your side. Could destroy an opposition pack on his own.
Neil Leeming: Another immensely strong man. A man’s man!
Roy Dransfield: 500 matches for the 1st XV says it all. What an engine!
Mick Smith: Tremendous Hooker – one club man. Always has a direct line to casualty!!
Glyn Dewhurst: Outstanding flanker. A leader for his generation.
Dick Greenwood: A very bright and intelligent player, and no mean coach! (Nearly as good as me!!)
Steve Kerry: Totally dedicated, and a great all -rounder. Play anywhere in the backs – but no sense of humour when it came to rugby!
Paul Grayson: Another totally dedicated guy, who made the most of his talent. Great clubman too.
Keith Smith: Ginner was the best wing I have ever seen.
Will Greenwood: Class Act. Great finisher, and a very intelligent player.
John Heritage: Quality player; great finisher – would have seen more of him had he not gone to rugby league.
Keith Aitchison: Outstanding talent and great clubman.
Michael Lough: Always a major influence in a game, with or without the ball. Top player.
Pete Nixon: Ex club captain; Ashton Sec Old Boy – Hard as nails!
Olly Viney: Despite his defection to Fylde – still one of the best full backs we’ve ever had at Hoppers.
Gary Monaghan: Speed, agility, a natural eye for a gap, and a brilliant side step.
John Bleasdale: Perfect example of a team player. Very influential both on and off the pitch.