Daniel Whitmore

Date published: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DANNY Whitmore, Oldham’s young hooker, will be back for his second season in a Roughyeds’ jersey in 2011 . . . older, wiser and ready to impress.

The 21-year-old local lad didn’t know what to expect when he waved farewell to life in the fast lane of academy rugby with Salford City Reds to tough it out at senior level with Oldham last year.

He found out the hard way — and quickly discovered he had a lot to learn.

“It was great experience, and a big learning curve for me,” said Whitmore, who has signed a new one-year contract to continue his courtship with his hometown club.

Having played previously in age-group rugby with first Bradford Bulls and then Salford, the former Waterhead junior successfully stepped up to the senior mark by appearing in 25 of Oldham’s 28 games, mainly coming off the bench as club skipper Martin Roden’s sidekick at hooker.

“I missed three games with an ankle injury,” he added, “but I played in all the rest, so for my first season at that level I was pretty pleased.

“Academy rugby was perhaps a little bit faster, but playing for Oldham was a lot tougher, more physical, more intense and more demanding.

“It took me a bit to find my feet. But I’ve adjusted now. I know how it works and I’m hoping to make a big impact next year at hooker. I played two or three games at half-back last season, but hooker is my favourite position and it’s the one that suits me best.

“I was distraught when we lost to York in the Grand Final, but that’s behind us and we are looking forward to a good pre-season and then getting off to a good start.”

Coach Tony Benson predicts that Whitmore will go from strength to strength. “Danny made huge progress last year,” he said. “His skill levels and game awareness improved steadily and I’m looking forward to seeing him advance further.”

Roughyeds now have nine senior players under contract for 2011 —- Johnny Walker, Jason Boults, Dave Ellison, John Gillam, Martin Roden, Ben Heaton, Scott Mansfield, Whitmore and new-boy Andy Isherwood.

In addtion, five young players are half-way through two-year deals, namely Michael Ward, Austen Barrowclough, Jacob Kinney, Ross Coates and Ben Marsden.