Back in the days when Old Mother Benson and I could be found
rolling about in the mud you could look a team photo and determine a player’s
position from their physical attributes.
Tall and rangy – second row forward, small and skinny – scrum half,
small and stocky – hooker, athletically plump – prop forward.

It’s not that easy these days with wingers as big as props
and props as fast as Usain Bolt. As
Eddie Hemmings never tires of telling us players are supreme athletes and can
be called upon to occupy a number of positions within one game.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking this versatility is
solely a virtue of the modern game. Never
one to blow my own trumpet my old coach Maurice Bamford tells the following

“During my spell as Huddersfield coach, we used to have our
final game plan session on the morning of the game. This tale involves my old
mate and ‘old fashioned front rower’ Peter Jarvis.

Peter worked wonders for me at Halifax and when I moved
across the valley to Fartown, ‘Jarvo’ was the first player I went for. Peter
weighed in around eighteen stones in those days and was a big lad.

This particular morning it had rained heavily and it was
very wet on top. The grounds man in
those days was not too keen to let us on the pitch, after the rain, to practice
and it took a lot of ‘buttering up’ to get him to agree to this session. Agree
he did though and we went through our plans which included, because in those
days it mattered, scrummaging. I wanted
to get over a special point as we were behind in the scrum count the weekend
before and I had the backs form a scrum against ‘Jarvo’ and the rest of our

On completion of the scrum session I was aghast when I saw
the area of ground on which we had packed down, it was torn to shreds and a
morass of mud.

‘Can we get the roller from the cricket field’ I asked, the
players shook their heads and it looked as though we were in for a telling off
from the grounds man.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

‘Hang on a minute, here lads give me a hand’ said Jarvo as
he lay down on the churned up ground.
The rest of the team then proceeded to use him as a giant rolling pin
over the area. After a couple of rolls the area was as flat as a pancake and
‘Jarvo’ had shown he was a man for all seasons. Happy Days.