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Monday, 06 July 2015

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HAVE YOUR SAY: Superfan Joe picks his all-time Town line-up

As Workington Town embark on what they hope is promotion-chasing season, lifelong fan and mayor of Allerdale JOE HOLLIDAY, who has written books about the club, picks what he believes is the greatest Town XIII

1 Paul Charlton: In two spells with Workington, Paul played an incredible 420 games with all but a handful being at full back.

He was extremely fit and although he did not look very robust, I can only recall him having to leave the field on one occasion suffering from the rigours of the games.

2 Ike Southward: Ike stands out as Town’s best ever winger and his incredible scoring feat during the 1957/58 season carried Workington to Challenge Cup and Championship finals.

His career lasted 17 seasons with Town, with just two years at Oldham, and during that time he amassed 274 tries.

He was very fast, and when ever he was put away by his centre, Ike’s determination to reach the try line was utmost in his mind.

3 Tony Paskins: Tony was a match winner as he seemed to be able to turn it on at will, and with a great side step he would be through a gap and away.

Anyone playing outside him would look good as he put them in the clear with ease and it’s his wing partner during the 1951/52 season Johnny Lawrenson who still holds the record of most tries in a season for Town with 49 touchdowns.

4 Eppie Gibson: A centre with contrasting style to Paskins, Eppie was the great worker who tackled everyone who came his way.

But he was also a very gifted rugby player who could go through a defence at great speed and scored many tries, including two wonderful individual efforts in the Championship final win over Warrington.

It was his high work-rate which allowed Paskins the time and space to work his magic.

5 Piet Pretorius: South African-born Piet was a winger who only needed half a chance to leave defenders grasping at fresh air.

He crossed for 28 tries in his first season for Town and a further 16 in only 18 appearances the following term before deciding the harsh winter weather in West Cumbria was not to his liking and returned home.

Had he stayed, I’m sure he would have gone on and scored many more tries and become a household name in the history of rugby league.

6 Gus Risman: When I was asked to name my best eve Town team, I was told to imagine all the players were in their prime and that’s why I chose Gus at stand-off.

Although Town fans will always remember him at full back, it was at centre/stand-off where he played as a young man with Salford and was regarded as one of the best ever.

Gus became one of the original hall of fame members mainly as a result of his time with Salford and the fact he toured on three occasions. As for being in his prime, Gus was in better shape at the age of 40 than many others are at 20.

7 Albert Pepperell: One of three rugby league playing brothers, Albert learned his trade from a very young age.

He varied his moves so well the opposition were never sure how to defend against him.

Town had two other scrum halves who could be chosen in any side – Sol Roper and Boxer Walker – but Albert had all the tricks of the trade and was the perfect link between a very powerful pack and the three quarters.

8 Norman Herbert: Norman had a wonderful pair of hands and good balance for a big man. He was a powerful man who could hold his own in the scrums as was very necessary in the 1960s when the ball had to be won before you could begin to play.

This strength also came in handy when releasing the ball in the tackle and creating the gaps for his team-mates.

9 Malcolm Moss: Although dogged with injury for a great deal of his career, I still think Malcolm was the best hooker for Workington.

Had it not been for his injury problems, I’m sure he would have achieved many more honours in the game, and a measure of his skill was never more evident when late in his career in a national sevens competition he was awarded the trophy as the best player in the competition.

Malcolm would have been an outstanding player in the game now as he was when he played.

10 Eddie Bowman: Eddie was a clever forward who could draw the opposition before releasing a perfectly-timed pass to send anyone following up through.

Always the organiser, he would get the best out of his team-mates and he was a key player in the great Lancashire Cup winning side of 1979.

Another aspect of his game was he would not give an inch to the opposition, which is always the hallmark of any great forward.

11 Johnny Mudge: One of the fastest forwards ever to play the game, Johnny was best known for his 70-yard try at Wembley, but it was not only his speed which made him such a wonderful second rower.

He was a tremendously strong man who could push players off while releasing the ball to his colleagues.

In his seven seasons with Town, Johnny became highly respected by his team-mates and the opposition that it gave him the edge whenever he took to the field.

12 Brian Edgar: Brian would be selected in any best ever side, whether it club, county or country.

He had everything you could want in a player; size, speed, sidestep, vision and the ability to create gaps for his fellow players.

He was selected to play at Wembley when only 19 years old, and after only five first team games, one of which he scored a hat-trick against Hull KR.

With Mudge returning home at the end of Brian’s first season, they only appeared in the same team seven times, but if they had, the pair would have been formidable.

13 Billy Ivison: Billy is the only contender for loose forward as he stands head and shoulders above the rest.

His skill and vision for the game was outstanding.

He was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match at Wembley and no-one could ever dispute that decision, but it was a distinction he was used to as Billy regularly performed at the highest level.

l Do you agree with Joe’s Town team? Let us have your best ever Derwent Park players – log on to www.timesandstar.co.uk, write to John Fuller, Times & Star, 23 Oxford Street, Workington, CA14 2AN or email john.fuller@cnmedia.co.uk

Have your say

Based purely on players I have seen play for Town since the early 70's I'd go for :-

Paul Charlton ; Des Drummond, Johnny Jones, Ken Kerr, David Baildon ; Ged Byrne, Boxer Walker ; James Pickering, Mick Jenkins, Eddie Bowman ; Les Gorley, Peter Gorley ; Billy Pattinson. Subs - Barry Williams, Jim Mills, Colin Armstrong, Brad Hepi.

Its all down to personal opinion and no doubt we would all pick a different team. We should just be thankful that we have had many great players to pick from over the years.

Posted by Mark on 3 August 2012 at 22:17

Don't agree with the full back. Paul though a good player could not tie Sid Lowden's boot laces. Paul was a try stealer who took far too many tries that the wingers would have normally scored.Sid could attack defend and kick goals way beyond any standard that Paul could.
Eric Bell earned his place in any Town Team, he had a brilliant footballing brain few others ever had. Nobody ever saw Eric give a bad pass to anyone in a bad position. He kept the ball and took the knocks.
No Harry Archer? Alexander the great Murphy never ever had a good game against Harry. considered to be one of the best players ever Murphy missed more St Helens visiting teams than he played in. Harry always ran rings round him, at home and away.
Harry vs Parkinson of Swinton head to heads were always worth paying to see.
There will always be arguments as to who were the better players, but in my humble opinion these players have all earned their place in any team.

Posted by Dave on 30 July 2012 at 15:18

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