Danny Whitmore

Date published: Thursday, June 3, 2010

DANNY Whitmore, Oldham’s young hooker, will go into Sunday’s big game against Blackpool Panthers at Whitebank buoyed by his trophy-winning performance in the Roughyeds’ 28-16 win at Workington.

Whitmore received the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy for his outstanding dummy-half play on the same Derwent Park pitch that Southward graced so majestically in the 1950s and 1960s.

The 21-year-old former Waterhead junior became the first Oldham winner of the trophy, which was originally put up by Workington four years ago to commemorate the life and times of their former wing star, who also played for Oldham and Great Britain.

Back in March, 1959 Oldham smashed the rugby league transfer record when they paid Town £10,650 to take Southward to Watersheddings. And when he returned to the Cumbrian club 52 games and 54 tries later he went for £11,002 10s — another record for the sport.

The memorial trophy now takes pride of place on top of the television in Whitmore’s home in Oldham.

“I was really pleased to get it, but to be honest, I had never heard of Ike Southward,” said Danny. “I guess he must have been an exceptional player. I told Chris (Hamilton) that I didn’t have a clue so he told me all about him.”

Whitmore began the Workington game on the bench, but was ultimately given more than an hour’s game time as a replacement for Martin Roden, who hobbled off with ankle trouble midway through the first half.

He had a hand in most of his side’s five tries, providing a quality service from dummy half and proving lively around the rucks.

“I got a chance to show people what I can do,” he said, “and I like to think I took it. I can play scrum-half at a pinch, but hooker is my real position and it’s the one I like best.

“I thought it was probably my best game since joining Oldham this year, but I’ve got to try to maintain that sort of form now and I’m hoping I will get the chance to have another crack at it against Blackpool.

“It’s going to be a big game for both teams and it should be a cracker.”

Whitmore, who works for Rochdale Council, joined Bradford Bulls under-18s when he left Waterhead and then had a stint with Salford reserves before joining his hometown Oldham club on a one-year contract for 2010.

He has played in 14 of the Roughyeds’ 17 games in all competitions, mainly as a substitute hooker but three times in the starting line-up as a half-back.