Gilliam signs for another year

Date published: Friday, September 30, 2011

WINGER John Gillam got an early birthday present when he signed a new one-year contract with Oldham RL Club.

The 2012 season will be his third with the Roughyeds, and he’s banking on it being third-time lucky.

In 2010 he was playing only his second game for his hometown club when he damaged a shoulder against Rochdale Hornets which kept him out for 11 weeks.

He came back with a vengeance, scoring four tries in a 64-10 win against Gateshead Thunder and playing in every other game to finish with 16 tries in 19 outings as Mick Fogerty’s left-wing partner.

Gillam’s good fortune didn’t last. He has missed much of the 2011 campaign due to injuries or work commitments, scoring only four tries.

Coach Tony Benson, however, remains confident that the birthday boy — 27 on October 15 — will have his best season yet in 2012 if his luck changes and he can stay clear of injuries.

“He has had a most unfortunate season,” said Benson, “but his luck is going to change one of these days and when it does Championship 1 defences can watch out.

“He’s strong on kick returns and he is always keen to roll up his sleeves and help when the forwards are clearing our line.

“He’s good under the high ball and with half a chance to score he’s rapid and a good finisher.

“On top of all that he’s a passionate Oldham boy, who loves to play for his home-town team.”

Benson has also spoken for the first time about new signing Danny Heaton, the 31-year-old former Widnes, Halifax and Swinton prop who has been recruited to give Oldham’s forwards extra weight.

“I tried to sign him last year,” said Benson, “because whenever we played Swinton he was always their stand-out player. He’s big and strong with ball in hand, and he’s also a good defender.

“He’s just the sort of front-row forward I’ve been looking for.”

Roughyeds have now signed 13 players for next season, including four from the reserves — Jamie Dallimore, Danny Langtree, Dave Cookson and Alex Thompson.

The reserves have their presentation night at Whitebank on Friday, tickets £5 from the club office in Lansdowne road, Chadderton, phone 0161 628 3677.