Former Oldham Rugby League Club forward Keith Ashcroft, who played 121 games for the club between 1970 and 1976, has died in hospital in Wigan, aged 72.
He was a hugely experienced front-row man, aged 30, when Oldham paid Wigan a £2,000 transfer fee to bring him to Watersheddings shortly after the dawn of a new era in the club’s history.
At the end of a disastrous 1969-70 season, when Oldham finished 29th out of 30 clubs in a single division, the committee was voted out of office en bloc and replaced by nine new officials and a new chairman in former Rochdale Hornets and ex-Rugby League Council chairman Arthur Walker.
They brought in former Rochdale Hornets and Huddersfield player-coach Graham Starkey in a similar role at Watersheddings and Keith Ashcroft was one of the new regime’s first signings.
He had started his pro career with St Helens 11 years earlier and later played for Bradford Northern, Warrington and his hometown club Wigan before ending his career at Watersheddings at the age of 36 after giving solid service for the best part of six seasons.
His funeral service will be at St Stephen’s Church, Whelley, Wigan, WN2 1BL at 10.45am on Thursday and then at Lower Ince Crematorium, Cemetery Road, Lower Ince WN3 4NN at 11.30am.