Alistair Williams promoted to first team

Date published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AN impressive 2010 season in the reserves was rewarded today when Alistair Williams was handed a one-year contract by Oldham Rugby League Club — and promoted to the first-team squad.

Williams (23), a strong-running centre, becomes the seventh Oldhamer to be contracted to Roughyeds for the coming season, alongside John Gillam, Scott Mansfield, Danny Whitmore, Chris Clarke, Michael Ward and Ben Marsden.

Other players carrying the “made in Oldham” trademark are also expected to be unveiled by their home-town club over the course of the next few days.

Williams, who lives in Royton, spent three seasons at Warrington Wolves as a contracted academy player after serving an eight-month spell on scholarship at Wigan Warriors.

Before leaving the local amateur game to join Wigan as a 16-year-old he had played for Iestyn Harris’s Shaw Tigers and then for the Waterhead club.

When his contract at Warrington expired four years ago he had a short spell on trial with Roughyeds, but nothing materialised and he joined open-age amateur side Hollinwood.

“Things didn’t work out for me when I was last at Oldham,” he recalled, “but I had personal things at home to attend to and those disappointing experiences back then make my signing for Roughyeds now all the sweeter.

“Hollinwood is a good club, but I always felt I could live in the sport at a higher level. I went travelling to Thailand to take stock and to clear my head and I decided that when I got back to the UK I would attempt one last bid to make it as a professional in rugby league.

“I hadn’t been back long when John Hough rang and invited me to play for Roughyeds reserves again last season, and that was to prove just the opening I needed.”

Operating down the left side in the reserves, he scored back-to-back hat-tricks against York and Hunslet and began to attract the interest of head coach Tony Benson.

And it was after more eye-catching performances in the second team that Williams was invited to train with the first-team squad for the second half of the season.

“I’ve now been given a chance to show what I can do as a member of the first-team squad,” said Williams, “and I will be pulling out all the stops.

“I always knew I had it in me to play at least up to part-time pro level, so we will see what happens. There’s certainly no point in keeping talking about it or just thinking about it. I’ve got to get out there and get the job done.”