Mark Brocklehurst

Date published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

OLDHAM RL Club have taken their 2011 first-team squad to 23 in number with the capture of utility back Mark Brocklehurst.

The 24-year-old Oldhamer, formerly with Wigan Academy and Rochdale Hornets, has signed a new one-year deal to follow a debut season with his hometown club in 2010.

“I’m glad to be back on board,” said Brocklehurst, whose versatility enabled him to slot into several positions in either first team or reserve team last year, including wing, centre, full-back and stand-off.

A lot of lads from last year have re-signed and I’m delighted to be back with them again. Hopefully, we can kick-on and finish the job.

“I played in a few different spots last year. I was happy to do that, but if I was given a preference I would like to go all out for the full-back job this time. I played a lot of my early rugby at Wigan as a full-back.”

He added: “A head of year at Hathershaw School in Oldham, Brocklehurst got off to a flier in Roughyeds colours at the start of last season with six tries in seven outings from left-wing.

The return after injury of John Gillam on the left flank set him back, but he was consistently on the fringe of senior selection while playing outstandingly well right across the back line for John Hough’s successful reserve team.

Brocklehurst will link up with the Roughyeds in February when his commitments with Oldham Rugby Union Club have finished. “That’s fine — we’ve no problem with that,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Of the 23 players contracted to Roughyeds for the new season, which starts with the Law Cup derby against Rochdale at Whitebank Stadium on Sunday, January 2, all but six were with the club last year and nine of them are Oldham boys.

The new men are forwards Andy Isherwood, Liam Gilchrist, Ben Wood and John Clough and backs Jack Bradbury and Tom Woodcock, while Mick Diveney and Alistair Williams have been promoted to the senior squad from the reserves.

There is no shortage of local loyalty with Gillam, Scott Mansfield, Danny Whitmore, Chris Clarke, Diveney, Williams, Wood, Bradbury and Brocklehurst all keen to shine for the town of their birth.

*Season tickets for 2011 can be bought from the Roughyeds office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton (0161 628 3677) up to noon on Christmas Eve.