Jake Hughes earns Oldham contract

Date published: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
OLDHAM RL Club have raided their 2014 reserve-team squad to pluck out teenage half-back Jake Hughes for senior recognition.
Hughes (18), originally from Wigan amateur side Hindley, has signed his first professional contract, which ties him to Roughyeds for a full year.
He is the third young player from last season’s under-20s to be elevated to Scott Naylor’s senior squad, following another half-back, Tom Dempsey (17), and a prop, Richard Joy (21), who put pen to paper in the summer on agreements to the end of next season.
Still waiting for their first-team debuts, all three are highly rated and thought to have the skills to progress up the professional ladder.
Hughes was taken to Whitebank last close season after he had impressed a Roughyeds scout while playing for Hindley at Crosfields in Warrington.
He wasted no time in winning a place at half-back in Neil Roden’s Oldham under-20s side, playing in nearly every game last season.
Roden’s boys trained with the first team on Tuesday nights during the second half of the season and it was then that Hughes came to the attention of first-team coach Naylor and his No 2, ┬áLee Spencer.
When the under-20s season finished in mid-August, Hughes, Dempsey and Joy were among several players from that squad who were called on to train with the seniors for the rest of the campaign.
Said Hughes: “Neil Roden is a legend at Roughyeds and, as a half-back myself, it was fantastic to play in his under-20s team.
“He showed me the tricks of the half-back’s trade and now that I’m a contracted Oldham player, I feel I owe him a great deal.
“I can’t wait for the start of pre-season training. It’s a big step up for me, but I’m going to work hard because I’m excited that I’ve been given this chance to see what I can do and how far I can go.”
Outside rugby, he works as a fitness instructor for Wigan and Leigh Culture Trust.
Speaking of the attributes that convinced him of Hughes’s potential, Naylor said his work ethic and his attitude to training were first class.
“I also liked what I saw when watching him in games,” added Oldham’s boss. “He’s willing to learn and he deserves a chance.
“He’s young yet, but he has a good understanding of the sport and he is willing to work hard and to learn.
“I have every confidence in him to strive to become the best he can possibly be.”