Jason Boults

Date published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010

JASON Boults, the Oldham front-row forward, is closing in on his 100-game milestone for the Roughyeds.

The 26-year-old former Bradford and Halifax prop, who is in his fourth season with Roughyeds, is in line to play his 99th game in cup and league for Oldham at Blackpool on Sunday and to complete his century seven days later against South Wales Scorpions at Whitebank.

If all goes according to plan, the Yorkshireman will become the second member of Tony Benson’s promotion-seeking squad to join the Roughyeds’ 100-Club this season, following full-back Paul O’Connor’s achievement in the game at Gateshead on July 4.

O’Connor led the side out on Tyneside and was similarly honoured a week later in front of home fans when Swinton Lions were beaten 42-30 at Whitebank, the Roughyeds’ fifth win in a row.

Boults, the unsung hero of Oldham’s front-row, joined the club when Roughyeds began to rebuild in the third tier of the professional game following their disastrous relegation season of 2006 when they went through the entire league programme without winning a game.

He played in 25 Oldham games in 2007 when he, Richard Mervill and Tony Tonks formed the backbone of the front-row, supported by Adam Robinson and Wes Rogers.

Said Tamghart was also prominent that season although he played as much in the second-row as he did at prop.

In 2008 Boults figured in 33 of the club’s 37 games, but even that record of consistency was surpassed by his fellow prop Mervill, who clocked up 35 appearances in a remarkably
dependable front-row.

Sadly for Boults, he grafted through a total of 58 Oldham games in those two seasons only to miss out when the Roughyeds’ teams were selected for both the 2007 and 2008 second division Grand Finals.

In 2007, when Roughyeds were beaten 24-6 by Featherstone Rovers at Headingley, Tonks and Mervill were the starting props with Tamghart providing front-row support from the bench.

A year later, when Ellery Hanley’s Doncaster broke Oldham hearts with an 18-10 win at Warrington, Mervill and Adam Robinson propped from the start with Luke Menzies and Tamghart among the substitutes.

Despite those disappointments Boults again threw his hat into the Roughyeds ring for 2009 when he played 20 times and would have turned out a lot more but for a spell in the early part of that year when he was working abroad and was unavailable in March and April.

He returned to the club to play in the last 17 games of the season, and this time it was third-time lucky for him on Grand Final day when he was picked at No 8, with Wayne Kerr at No 10, in the side agonisingly pipped 28-26 by Keighley Cougars, again at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.

Menzies and Jamie I’Anson were the back-up props on the bench, Boults at last getting the Grand Final recognition his consistency had earned over three seasons.

To date this year the archetypal players’ player has figured 20 times out of a possible 21, all but two of them in the starting 13.

When he reaches his ton, possibly a week on Sunday, he will become the fourth prop out of only 12 players to have hit that milestone since the birth of Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd.

Jason Clegg (147 games), Lee Doran (112) and Danny Guest (104) are all members of the 100-Club.

Neil Roden (244 and still going strong) is out in front, followed by John Hough (228), who has had an unbroken 13-year spell of service with the club as player and now reserve-team coach.

Others in the list are Gareth Barber (138), Gavin Dodd (132), Phil Farrell (124), Jon Goddard (110), Joe McNicholas (102) and Paul O’Connor (101).