Following on from the success of his testimonial game on boxing day here is Graham Cox’s selection for his ultimate XV.
15 Mick Walker
14 Keith Brierley
13 Joe Hindle
12 Will Greenwood
11 Alan Sayle
10 Keith Aitchison
9 Dave Percy/Brian Ashton
1 Stan Sherlock
2 Stuart Crane
3 Brent Horton
4 Alan Wyllie
5 Wade Dooley
6 Mick Parker
7 Neil Leeming
8 Roy Dransfield/Dick Greenwood
Graham’s reasons are given below.
‘As for the best team it’s taken some thinking about as I’ve played with so many players. The worst part is the backs – does anyone exist past the scrum half? In the forwards some choices were easy, others less so. Being a second row, it’s important that a loose head prop has a good “rear end” to push on. Stan Sherlock fits that bill! For a winger turned prop he did OK. Hooker was a difficult choice as there have been some really good ones. Andy Proctor taught me all about front row play in the time that I spent there – he was great. Mick Billington was good as was Dave Pogson but Stuart Crane gets there by his speed of strike, ability to throw the ball in and a regular presence at the bar. Stan Threlfall is a legend in his own lifetime but is pipped at the post by one of the best Brent Horton.
I’ve put my arm round a lot of players in the second row but the there are two that stand out. Wade Dooley goes without saying, but in the games that I played Alan Wyllie was the one to stand out. I guess that as we were a similar size, it worked well – I’d have him in my team every day.
The back row had plenty of good players and the Parker, Dransfield, Leeming combination stands out for me. But I can’t exclude Dick Greenwood – he taught me more about rugby than anyone else and the experience helped me when I coached the juniors for 10 years. His combination with Brian Ashton for half a season was a joy to behold. But as Brian only played a few games, Dave Percy makes the team.
At no 10, Keith Aitchison is one of the most talented players I have played with. At inside centre could it be anyone but Will Greenwood? I knew he would go on to better things than Hoppers 4th team! Joe Hindle would team up with him at outside centre.
Alan Sayle takes one wing and Keith Brierley takes the other – yes it’s true what he says that he was a good winger in his day! At full back Mick Walker is the best full back I’ve played with. There have been many others who have not made the list but it has been great to play with everyone.
And the hardest opponent? As a second row it was always a great battle with Bill Beaumont and as a prop the best I ever came across was Feidlim McLoughlin from Northern, capped by Ireland shortly after keeping my nose in the mud for 80 minutes.’