Chris Ashworth strengthens u18’s

Date published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PHIL Costin’s under-18s Oldham RL Club squad has been strengthened by the arrival of highly-rated Chris Ashworth, who also plays for Hopwood Hall College and Rochdale amateurs Mayfield.

Described as a fine prospect, Ashworth plays second-row for Hopwood Hall and stand-off for Mayfield.

He didn’t play in Oldham’s 22-8 win at Hunslet last Saturday because he was in France with his college side, but he will debut against Halifax at Whitebank a week on Saturday, June 9 (2.30pm).

His signing gives Costin a squad of 23 with one place still to fill.

“We’re a younger squad than last year,” said Costin. “Most of the lads are 16 or only recently turned 17, but they have a lot of talent and they will get even better once they realise how good they are.

“Most of the 17 who played at Hunslet were new to us this year.

“I have only three local boys in the squad, although half-back Tom Flanagan, who joins us from Chorley Panthers, is a nephew of Neil Flanagan, who was the Roughyeds’ first captain when the new club was formed in 1997.”

Jordan Morris, a prop from Warrington side Crosfields, is captaining the side this year and he is joined by another Crosfields youngster in full-back Ben Kenwright.

Another one to watch out for is second-row forward Nick Ryan, of Oldham St Anne’s, who won the man-of-the-match award at Hunslet.

Added Costin: “Having been let go by Super League clubs, they all come with good habits.

“Some of them have gone back to their original amateur clubs, but I have had great support from those clubs, recognising as they do that we are trying to give the youngsters a second chance of starting out in the pro game.

“Roughyeds haven’t entered into this lightly and the club does all it can to give the boys a chance of progressing up the ladder.

“They are given the same training kit as the first team and they are generally treated in just the same way as the reserves and the first team, even down to their post-match meal.”

Costin’s cubs share a physio, Pat Hoyte, with the reserves, but they have their own assistant coach, Dave Whitehead; their own conditioner, Craig Thomas; and their own masseur in James Hunt.

“It’s a nice, little backroom team which shows the club means business,” said Costin.

Costin will welcome fans at training sessions which are held at Whitebank on Wednesdays between 7pm and 8.30pm and on Saturdays between 10.30am and noon.

The team that won at Hunslet lined up as follows:

Ben Kenwright; Steve Woods, Richard Ward, Josh Wakefield, Tom Mallinson; Tom Flanagan, Patrick Fitzsimmonds; Jordan Morris, Liam Sargent, Tom Breheny, Nick Ryan, Sam Hughes, Chris Ashbrook. Subs: Aaron Morris, Josh Hulme, Craig Lawton, Jack Sherratt.