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MY BEST PARK XV

Former 1st XV hooker and club skipper Allan Davies is next to submit a what is a truly fabulous 'Best Park XV'.

You may well be asking who is this bloke putting forward his selection . I am probably only known to a few of the current membership but I did play for the club between 1967-75 and was captain in 1973.

I lived in Shrewsbury and travelled up to play and train every week . I was attracted by the phenomenal fixture list which was the envy of most of the then first class clubs.

I have been asked to put forward my squad by one or two people and this I am more than happy to do and I will enjoy a trip down memory lane -it will be a bit like the antiques road show!!!!

15 ALEX DONKER-a big man in more ways than one. Solid defence , good kicker and always looking to attack from anywhere , could quickly spot that gap and an excellent support runner .. Shrewd football brain who could organise the back play.
A very positive influence.

14 GEOFF LEE GALLON-a Cheshire regular and short listed to play for the England Sevens Team. Exceedingly elusive seemed to be able to run sideways as fast as he could going forwards .Dangerous every time he had the ball and was as devastating attacker as anyone in the country.

13 JOHN HOWARD- a local from Birkenhead School who did not play that many games for us as he was committed to play for Cambridge University and played co centre with Chris Williams who was the brother of the great “ JPR” .A leader and no nonsense type of player who was very strong defensively and his great strength was to bring other attackers into play , a wingers dream.

12 JOE BERMAN-this guy was the complete footballer and athlete . He had sublime skills who could virtually do anything with the ball . A total nightmare for the opposition as no one knew what he would do next-fortunately we could read him .Played for Staffordshire and was an Oxford Blue . May well have earned a cap had he played down south .

11 HARRY DANIELS-local boy makes good . A real character , very big, strong and with a fair amount of pace even though he sometimes preferred to go through people rather than around them. Scored tries for fun and terrified the opposition with his raw power and shaggy beard .Left after a couple of seasons to go to USA .

10 STEVIE RULE-only a youngster when he came but was already an outstanding talent .Could beat people on a sixpence , good punter and had the game management to drive the pack around the field. Because of work moved onto Sale where he had a successful period and played for Cheshire . Joined Salford Rugby League Club .

9 ROD WHALLEY-scrum half for most of my time at the club . From my point of view he was great because he knew how to put the ball into the scrum and not get penalised!!!.Played for Cheshire but was in competition with Steve Smith for the position . Rod always thought he was better then the England International and on his day few would argue with him . Had phenomenal turn of speed and he was often referred to by us as “ Nijinsky “

1 NEIL ASHWORTH-a giant of a player and a man When he was with you, you feared no one and we destroyed many of the top front rows in the country .Travelled from Colwyn Bay and played for North Wales when they won the Welsh County Championship and also played for them against Tonga . Had he played in South Wales he would undoubtedly been capped . Awesome best describes him.

2 ALLAN DAVIES-on an ego trip here as during my time I was not knowingly under pressure and not dropped so could only go with myself!!-not the biggest hooker about but probably one of the fastest -finished 3rd in the Welsh Games 400m with the winner going onto play for Wales on the wing.

Saw off Peter Wheeler , England Lions etc , taking 3 against the head with only a 7 man pack having lost a prop . Rejected an offer from Widnes RL. Played for North Midlands, North Wales and the most capped Shropshire player-110 caps. Under consideration for the Welsh Squad by Clive Rowlands .

3 TIM CROOK -another fine player who travelled from the Bay .Always supremely fit and with the build of an Adonis .A great footballing brain and we would continually discuss our front row strategies during the game .

Never saw him go backwards and knew the dark arts needed to be a success at tight head . Played with Neil for North Wales in the previously mentioned games.

4 MIKE ROBERTS-.another famous son of the Bay .Played only a few games for us including kicking 12 conversions off the touchline when we beat Waterloo by 65 points plus.

Having gained his Blue at Oxford went onto play for London Welsh , winning many Welsh Caps and being selected to go on the history making Lions Tour of 1971 . His achievements could fill this page but sufficient to say that he was and is an absolute legend .

5 STUART HOPE-there was tough competition for this spot from the likes of Stan Waldron ( Cork Constitution ) and Peter Kyrke Smith ( Oxford Blue ) not to mention Colin Elphick but Stuart was my man .

Always there , solid scrummager , athletic lineout jumper and very mobile . Never afraid to go where it hurts .Represented Cheshire and later assisted Sale on the odd occasion when they needed stiffening up !!

6 DAVE ROBINSON-had a couple of seasons with us before departing for Gosforth . A Cumbrian farmer and a hard man who inspired us all .Very Knowledgeable .
Devastating “ ripper “ of the ball and would have been a turnover expert in the modern game . Played for North West Counties team that beat the All Blacks . Had a non cap appearance for England against Japan . Later coaches England .Although he was part of an all international back row at Gosforth, included 2 British Lions ,that club could never beat us .

8 KENNY WHITE-probably the best footballer amongst the lot of us . Played for Cheshire at 19 years of age . Went to college in Newcastle where John Elder the then England Coach tried to persuade him to play for that county with the aim of grooming him for international honours .
But Kenny as a hippy and a very cool dude who could take it or leave it .On the field he could do anything and reminded me of Andy Ripley ( Eng./Lions ) in his style of play .Whilst great in open play did not neglect the work to be done at the coal face . Later joined the Met Police and played for them-a poacher turned gamekeeper .

7 RICHARD HASLEHURST-A Park Legend .In his era one of the most formidable opensides in the country . A big rampaging , rumbustuous runner in open play who created openings for others and I was the recipient of many try scoring passes by simply trailing him .
Another who gave you confidence when he was playing .His name was one of the first that the opposition used to look for in the match program with his name having the reverse effect on them . Played many seasons for Cheshire .An outstanding performer for Park over many years .

THE MODERN GAME REQUIRES A SQUAD SELECTION SO BELOW ARE THOSE CHOICES WHICH I BELIEVE AS IMPACT PLAYERS WOULD PUT THE FEAR OF GOD INTO ANY OPPOSITION.

16 RAY CORSI-a legend in his own lifetime . An incredible player who was the hardest player I have ever been on a pitch with .From Tiger Bay , Cardiff . Played flanker for the Combined Services and was the RAF Light heavyweight Champion.
At Park he played backrow and prop and would fill in here at hooker where he would be well suited in the modern game .His super aggressive attitude often caused problems for the opposition and even we had to refocus his activities from time to time !!!-a real hero to the team .

17 DAVE BUTTERY-played a key role in driving the team forward into a very successful era .Great football brain and was ahead of his time as a coach .Played for Staffordshire when they won the County Championship . A very technical prop who could deal with most situations and I probably caused him more grief than any opposition front rows through my sometimes unorthodox positions and I certainly gave him many black eyes .

18 ADRIAN DUNN-the loosehead in my early years at the club . Was the UAU Heavyweight Champion . Built like Charles Atlas but much more mobile . Took no nonsense and was very aggressive .Captained Cheshire and later Oxfordshire when his work took him down there .Unlucky not to have had an England Cap as he was on standby for one game because of a late injury but unfortunately the much hoped for phone call never came as the player involved recovered in time to play .

19 JIM CROWE-Was a legend on the field and still is off the field to all the boys of my generation and earlier . Would be in the starting line up but for the appearance of Dave Robbo at Park .
Jim could play anywhere up front although back row was his speciality. An extremely strong athlete with a totally focussed attitude . Played for Cheshire on many occasions and I only played with him at the end of his career. There will be many at Park who could give a far more formidable profile than I have given here .An outstanding individual who commands the total respect of all that played with him.

20 MALCOLM RYDER-another Shropshire Lad .A farmer by trade who used to run across ploughed fields in his Wellingtons to get fit . A very tall and rugged No 8 who thrived in the middle of the action . Good lineout operator .
If Kenny White was an Andy Ripley clone then Mal was reminiscent in style of Merve The Swerve - always on the ball regardless of personal safety and quietly sorting out the midfield . Played for Shropshire and North Midlands .

21 COLIN HUGHES-scrum half cover but also a very fine footballer with a great knowledge of the game as befits a former Loughborough Colleges player . Had all the skills including a very clever put in at the scrum-knew how to look after his possession /hooker . A long time servant of the club .

22 RAY TWENTYMAN-a Cumbrian and a mate of Robbo .Played for the Two Counties . Was a very versatile back and although mainly a centre was equally adept in any of the back positions . Good organiser and very popular with his team mates .

COACH-DON GULLICK-played rugby union for Pontypool Before going North and signing for St Helens where he enjoyed an illustrious career . Later became manager of Widnes RL when near their peak . Brought many new ideas based upon his league experience and gave us a more professional attitude . A real motivator . Atop man .

I think that is it .

I believe my Squad would be capable of beating any side in the country bar none . It has the dog , the determination , the skill and organisational attributes to do the job. As I recall the side finished 2nd in the unofficial Sunday Telegraph Northern League a couple of years in a row with only Gosforth ahead of us , although they could never beat us .
Also many of this selection played in the side that won the PARK SEVENS in the early seventies beating Waterloo, Orrell and Liverpool on the way to the trophy .

Hope I have not bored you all but the above brought back some great memories of the fantastic players who appeared in the club shirt years ago-I hope we left some kind of legacy .

Where next?

John McNally My Best Park XV returns and former club skipper, coach, director of rugby & chairman John McNally pr

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