The Johnston family surname has long been engrained into Streatham Redskins folklore.
For eight seasons from 1985, Jim Johnston played in defence for his hometown club, before eventually handing the family baton over to his nephew Joe Johnston, the current Redskins captain.
Having made his senior debut as a sprightly 13-year-old alongside his uncle in 1993, Johnston has gone on to become synonymous with Streatham Redskins ever since.
During his 12 seasons at Streatham – following a temporary break in play for the club when they disbanded in 1994 – Johnston has amassed 180 goals to sit third in the club’s all time scoring list.
His ever present position in attack has allowed him to do so, however, as Johnston concedes, the days of him leading the forward line may well be reaching their end.
“I played in defence a lot last season and it was a new thing for me to play there but the team needed it at the time as we had a few injuries,” he said.
“I’m at a stage in my career where maybe three years ago I would have argued against the decision to play me there, but now if the team needs me to cover there then I am willing to do it.
“Playing in defence there means there is less pressure to get up and down the ice as much, so I’m able to use a lot of the good points I have, like my vision, to make things happen from a defensive position.”
Like any professional sportsman will attest to, there comes a time when age takes its toll and the body is no longer able to achieve what the mind is willing it to do.
Now 35, Johnston is only too aware of the fact that his speed on the ice isn’t what it once was, and that he has to evolve to further his career.
“You do have to adapt your game slightly, as you would in any sport,” he added.
“But you adapt your game by knowing you might not get somewhere anymore with your legs so you use your brain and experience to try and anticipate situations instead.”
For the time being, the summer losses of forwards Callum Best and Sean Scarbrough mean Johnston will be heavily relied upon in attack.
Despite two goals in his first three games, Johnston wants upcoming youngsters like Daniel Clayton – who scored his first senior goal for the Redskins in their opening day victory away at London Raiders – to push him all the way.
“With my club hat on I want guys like Daniel to be pushing me on and challenging me because that’s the progression the club needs,” he said.
“He needs to be pushing me out of my position because then it shows the club is evolving.”
Johnston will hope to continue showing there is life in the old dog yet when Redskins host Oxford City Stars on Saturday at 5.30pm.
Feature image courtesy of Rick Webb, with thanks