This week it is the turn of our Hon. Fixture Secretary John Powell to pick his Ultimate XV of players he has played with and against.
Here is his team in his own words.
I played rugby for various teams at Hoppers from 1974 when I joined from College and after a number of seasons at 1st team level including Vice Captain under Stan Liptrot. I then captained the 2nd XV in 1986 for a very successful season before slowly dropping down the teams playing for all teams including the infamous Strollers. In 1990 I began refereeing at the club and then joined the Manchester Society. I eventually finished reffing in 2009.
My team is based on the players I have played alongside in the various teams at the club. Not only have they been committed Hoppers players they have been friends and players to be trusted to do their very best at all times.
See if you recognise some of the names—-
1. Jim Thornton – a powerful prop who when he eventually reached a maul could be guaranteed to win it.
2. Stuart Crane – The best pure hooker I have seen. He was a better hooker against the head and his throwing in was great.
3. Brent Horton – An animal of a player, he frightened me in the changing rooms before he went out. He liked his opponent to sniff the mud.
4. Graham Cox – Mr Consistency. A great scrummager and lineout could be guaranteed when linked with Stuart Crane
5. John Tattersall – A surprising choice and I did think of Wade Dooley, but he wasn’t around enough to find out how good he was. John’s selection was aided by the car he drove, a pleasure to travel away in the ‘Enterprise’. A good drinking partner as well.
6. Martin Sill – A fast aggressive skillful player who linked well with the backrow and his backs
7. Terry Sumner – Only young when we played together but he was a strong player keen and quick to listen and learn A great team player.
8. Neil Leeming – the strongest, nastiest player I played with and against when he was at Fylde. Training sessions were more physical than some games and away journeys on the back row of the coach was like wrestling with bears.
9. Peter Wright – A brave scrum half who had to deal with some awful ball in the early years at Lightfoot Green. Developed into a shrewd tactical player.
10. Sam Markland – Came into view in a night game when he came on as replacement for me against Thornton Cleveleys. He was a phenomenal kicker from hand and ground. Excellent at setting up his centres.
11. John Martindale – A fast and good finisher and good in defence. I will never forgive him for not passing inside to me in the last minutes of a cup game at Widnes. That pass would have won us the game.
12. Martin Hughes – Manuel – A fellow Welshman and a fantastic attacking flair player who linked well with Sam and Bernie.
13. Bernie Hudson – A tough aggressive player who could make the breaks. Often making Sam and Manuel look good
14. Keith Brierley – One of the first people I met when I came to Hoppers. Made me feel as if I had joined a madhouse with his antics with Bob Thornthwiate. A crafty player who looked slower than he actually was.
15. Jimmy Martin – Was one of the original running fullbacks. Trouble was he always did it at the most unexpected time.
Coach – Stan Liptrot – Also captain when I was vice captain of the 1st team. I will always remember his face when he arrived 5 minutes before KO at Penarth having driven down from St Helens after the birth of his child. Only for me to tell him he wasn’t playing.
Trainer – Eddie Brown – Had some strange idea that he needed to get me fit. Some of his methods were unique but a really nice guy.
Touch Judge – Stuart Thompson – The best touch judge we have ever had, having the abitity to ‘help’ the team from the touchline.
Kitman – John Crayston – Looked after the kit for a number of years and no-one ever got away with forgetting or losing kit. He wouldn’t even allow anyone else to wash the kit. Very little went astray in his time. Sorry I didn’t pick your two lads in my Ultimate Team.