Two bright sparks for Roughyeds

Date published: Saturday, December 31, 2011
TWO bright young prospects who were formerly with Widnes Vikings have thrown their caps into the Roughyeds ring.
One of them, 21-year-old Tom Rigby, trained with the first-team squad last night and will play in the Oldham side to take on Rochdale Hornets in Monday’s Law Cup clash at Whitebank (3pm kick off).
A utility back, Rigby has been training with Roughyeds’ reserves for the past three weeks.
He has impressed coach Paul Ashton and it is on his recommendation that Rigby will be given an early opportunity to catch the eye of head coach Tony Benson.
Rigby and his ex-Widnes team mate Jack Reid, who is also training with Ashton’s squad, were regular members of the Vikings under-23s side which finished top of the Reserves Championship last season.
Oldham, who were second, were the only team to beat them all season and they did it three times — away in the league and in the play-offs and at Whitebank 29-24 in the play-off final.
Rigby, a close friend of Oldham’s young forward Alex Thompson, played on the left wing for Widnes in that final, while Reid turned out at loose-forward.
“They are both good players,” said Ashton. “Reid, who can also play stand-off and hooker, has been with us for a while, but Rigby only joined us three weeks ago.
“We learned a lot about the Widnes lads while playing them four times last season and these two were always going to be on our ‘wanted’ list if they ever became available, which they did when Widnes got into Super League.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent at all levels now and there’s nothing like competition to bring out the best in them.”
Benson has confirmed that Rigby will get his chance in the Law Cup game, but he won’t finalise his squad until tomorrow so it isn’t yet known whether the new boy will figure at centre, full-back or wing.
“Rigby comes highly recommended by Ashy,” said Benson, “and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.
“It’s important that each of the club’s three teams and each of the coaches work closely together to provide a pathway for players to move up through the ranks.”
With this in mind Benson plans to involve Ashton as part of his game-day coaching team throughout the coming season.
“We haven’t done it before, but I’m sure it will work,” said Benson. “It will help Ashy’s development and it will also help us to be more cohesive on the playing side from top to bottom.
“Under-18s coach Phil Costin will combine that job with his role as Ashy’s No 2, and if Ashy is involved with the first team on match days we should have in place a coaching structure that will bring out the best in everyone.”