Oldham sign Eagles centre

Date published: Thursday, March 26, 2015
OLDHAM RL Club have strengthened their squad by signing Sheffield Eagles’ young centre Tom Ashton on a contract to the end of this season.

Leigh-born Ashton, aged 22, was at Sheffield for more than three years and had re-signed for 2015.
For much of that time he lived in Mossley and had a part-time job outside rugby, but on moving back to live in Leigh and getting full-time employment in Stockport he found it impossible to fulfil his commitments to Sheffield Eagles.
He needed a club nearer home so he asked for his release from Sheffield —- and got it.
“Two or three other League One clubs were also interested, but when I talked to Oldham and trained with them a couple of times it just felt right for me,” said Ashton.
“There was a buzz in the air and everybody seemed very ambitious.”
Ashton becomes Oldham’s second centre signing in six days, following the return to Whitebank, for a third loan spell, of Salford’s Jon Ford.
Unlike Ford, who was here in 2013 and again in 2014, Ashton will be given two or three weeks in which to familiarise himself with the Roughyeds’ systems, style of play and coaching methods before being considered for his debut.
Said coach Scott Naylor: “When we heard Tom was available we followed it up immediately because he has a lot of qualities to his game.
“It will take him a bit of time to get used to us, and to understand what we are trying to achieve, but I am looking forward to working with him and seeing him reaching a position in which he has earned his place in the team.”
As a boy, Ashton spent seven years at Leigh Miners before switching codes to join Sale Sharks academy and later making his semi-pro debut at Preston Grasshoppers, aged 17.
Within a year he was back in rugby league with Sheffield, playing mainly in the academy
but earning a first-team contract in 2014 when he made eight senior appearances and scored a try against Castleford in the Challenge Cup.
“I hope I can add something to what everyone is trying to achieve at Whitebank,” said Ashton, who was at school in Leigh with his new Roughyeds team mate George Tyson.