RUGBY LEAGUE’S QUALITY STREET GANG 13 – TERRY OGDEN PT 4

Part 4 He Remembers Players In The ‘Team Of Stars’

With so many big stars in the team, in the later stages of his time at Salford, Terry, understandably, finds difficulty in singling out individuals because each of them had so much to offer in their specific roles.

“Mike Coulman and Colin Dixon absolutely shone in the engine room of the pack.  Their pace was exceptional for guys of their size, which made them so difficult to stop once they had got into their stride.  I was very fond of Colin especially, as he was a really great guy.  He had a reputation of being extremely strong of physique, and you usually came off worse if you came up against him.  His presence on the field was always a considerable attribute to the team, as indeed was the case with Mike.

“With Mike it was the sheer power he possessed.  He had a low centre of gravity, which made him very difficult to knock off balance.  His legs and thighs were massive; he once split the seams of a pair of trousers he was trying on in a gentleman’s outfitter where a few of us were trying on new suits.

“Out wide, we had an abundance of pace, with Bill Burgess and then shortly after I had left, Maurice Richards.  I had, though, been impressed by Maurice when I saw him run in four tries for Wales in a rugby union international against England, at Cardiff Arms Park, and even though we never actually played together, we have since become really good friends and very much enjoy meeting up at the occasional players’ reunions to which the club invites us.

“Even at halfback, David Watkins’s speed was noteworthy, but that was also supplemented by his extremely tricky footwork, which would mesmerise defenders as they tried to bring his progress to a halt. 

“The night he made his debut against Oldham, I was on crutches, having damaged ligaments in my ankle, so was not playing.  He later told me that I had been the first person he had met on coming to Salford, and seeing me on crutches had made him wonder what on earth he had come to.

“Chris Hesketh had been little more than a fringe player when he had been at Wigan.  That was possibly because he could be a difficult player to follow, as on occasions he would run away from his support rather than keeping with it, but, from the moment he came to Salford, he seemed to progress beyond all expectations.  The environment just seemed to suit him, and with the backs amongst whom he was playing, we were able to have sufficient players backing him up to ensure there was someone nearby, whichever route he decided to take towards the line.”

In the later years of his career, Terry would be found packing down on the blindside of the scrum, whilst his fellow, openside prop, was former Oldham international, Charlie Bott.

“Charlie and I complemented each other ideally.  My strength was my skill with the ball, but my weakness was my tackling, whereas tackling was Charlie’s greatest strength. 

“As an international he had been on tour of Australia with Great Britain, in 1966, and later emigrated there when his playing career was coming towards its end.  Coincidentally, just as I was involved in the development of the social club in the sixties, I understand that Charlie, for the few months prior to his move down under, was equally involved in the construction of the then new North Stand.”

Terry’s move up front was possibly attributable to the acquisition of another former Oldham forward, Stuart Whitehead, who held the second-row position for a couple of years before moving to centre, on the arrivals of Coulman and Dixon.

“The fact that Stuart was part of that attacking line up of such speedy backs as Watkins, Hesketh, Burgess and Richards, showed the considerable pace he had as a second rower, when he first came, and he continued to hold his position in the centre until he was replaced by David Watkins’s move there from stand-off, in 1971.

One prop who actually outlasted Terry’s length of time with the club, was fans’ favourite, Jimmy Hardacre.

“Jimmy was at the club when I first arrived here, and he was still playing in the ‘A’ team when I left – in fact by then he had become captain of them, which was quite an honour when you remember just how really good that ‘A’ team was.  Coach, Ernie Critchley, thought the world of Jimmy with his hundred and ten percent endeavour in every match; he was such a wholehearted player.

“One of the best hookers we had in my time at Salford for getting the ball from the scrum was Colin Bowden, who came to us around the same time as David Evans, but who remained for only a very brief spell.

“Paul Murphy, our left winger, was the first of the really fast wingers we were to have, having come to Salford from Preston Grasshoppers.  He also turned out to be a good goalkicker, which was only discovered by chance.  Towards the end of his playing career, he was involved in working in the social club, which led, in turn, to his marrying Jill Snape, one of Brian Snape’s daughters.”

TRIBUTE TO TOM DANBY

Salford Red Devils are saddened to learn of the passing of their former international winger, Tom Danby, on the 26th December 2022.

A native of Durham, Tom had risen to become a rugby union international, whilst playing for Harlequins, in January 1949, when he represented England against Wales, at Cardiff Arms Park.  Although England lost 9-3, he had so impressed that he was recruited by Salford and signed for them six months later, in June of that year.  He then made his debut against Liverpool Stanley, on 24th August, at The Willows.

He was an immediate success in rugby league and in the following March was selected for the England team to face Wales, at Central Park, Wigan, and then followed this up with his being included in the 1950 Great Britain touring squad to Australia and New Zealand, during which he notched up a remarkable total of 34 tries in 18 matches.  He, consequently, was then selected to play in the second test, at Brisbane, which he celebrated by scoring an exceptional, individual, opening try, which contributed to his continued presence in the third and final test, in Sydney, and then in the second of two test matches against New Zealand, in Aukland.

On his return home, he played for the Great Britain Touring Side against ‘The Rest’, in the Lord Derby Memorial Match, at Wigan, in October 1950.  Although this was to be his final game for Great Britain, he, nevertheless, went on to represent England twice in late 1950, against Wales in Abertillery, and France at Headingley, LeedsWor.

In the 1951/2 season, he was Salford’s top try scorer, with a total of 17, and later that year played for them against the New Zealand touring side.  In his five years with the club he made 174 appearances, scoring 61 tries and kicking 2 goals, for a total of 187 points.

In 1954, he requested to be placed on the transfer list, before making his final appearance in a red jersey, at Derwent Park, Workington, on 3rd April.  An anticipated move to Workington Town sadly fell through, and he retired from the sport to move south and take up a teaching post in Sussex.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family at this sad time.

Acknowledgement: Graham Morris, Club Historian and Author of ‘100 Greats Salford Rugby League Club’

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