Ashy to take helm for second team

Date published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club have appointed from within to fill the vacancy created by reserve team coach John Hough’s move to Huddersfield Giants.

Paul Ashton, Hough’s No 2 in the under-23s’ trophy-winning 2011 campaign, succeeds his former boss to become new coach of the second team on a one-year contract.

Once a precocious talent himself, 32-year-old Ashton is relishing the responsibility for nurturing and developing the talents and skills of the Roughyeds’ ambitious young hopefuls.

“I’ve had my time as a player,” said the former Halifax, Rochdale, Keighley, Swinton and Oldham half-back, “and on reflection I should have done better than I did.

“I’m older and wiser now and this is my chance to finally fulfil my potential.

“It’s a big step-up for me, but I’m itching to grab the opportunity and to face the challenge head-on.”

Ashton, who also starred for Saddleworth Rangers and Oldham St Anne’s, said he learned a lot about the managerial and man-management side of the job while working alongside Hough last season.

As the son of former Oldham, Leeds and Great Britain scrum-half Ray Ashton, Paul has spent all his life in a rugby league environment.

“I was brought up in it,” he added, “and I always intended to go into coaching once I finished playing.

“I’m an adopted Oldhamer — I was only a few months old when I came here —- and to be given an opportunity like this at the Roughyeds means everything to me.

“I’m trying to sort out training venues in preparation for the new season and I’ll have a bit of recruiting to do because Jamie Dallimore, Alex Thompson, David Cookson and Danny Langtree will be moving up to the first-team squad.

“My aim is to get as many reserve-team players as possible into the first-team squad on a conveyor belt of talent.”

Putting the club’s slant on the appointment, chairman Chris Hamilton said Roughyeds wished ‘Ashy’ every success as he started out on the next rung of the ladder in his coaching career.

He added: “He made it clear from the start how much he wanted the job. He has total respect from the players, but it was important for him to recognise that in many ways this was a major step up for him.

“His new job is completely different to the one he did last season as No 2, and with it comes a lot of responsibility.

“We are a club that sets high standards and Paul is under no illusions about what he needs to do and what is expected of him.

“People will see a different Paul Ashton to the one that many remember as a player. He and I have spoken at length about what the job entails, and there will be times when I can give him some help.

“He deserved his chance; he is keen to learn everything he can about the job; and he is committed to ensuring that the flow of players to the first team — a record of which the club is proud — continues.”