PROP Ben Davies is the eighth member of last season’s relegated Oldham RL squad to stick with the Roughyeds in League 1.
Davies (27) had the opportunity to move on but, like several others, he chose to stay at the club where mates matter and friendships are fostered.
“I’ve been at a few clubs in my time,” said the former Wigan, Widnes, Halifax and Whitehaven front-rower, “but Oldham are the tightest group I’ve ever been with, no doubt about that.
“We are all good mates together and I want to be playing with my best mates — that was a big factor in my decision to sign a new contract for 2018.
“Last season I thought we were strong enough to be challenging in the Championship, so it was a bitter disappointment for everybody when we went down.
“Serious injuries cut us apart, but if we can keep most of the lads together for next year we’ll have a good chance of going straight back up.
“I feel sure we’ll certainly be challenging.”
Davies, from the Wigan area, said he was looking forward to again playing in the same pack or off the bench alongside Adam Neal, Phil Joy, Danny Langtree, Gareth Owen, Craig Briscoe and Jack Spencer, all of whom have also committed to Roughyeds for next season.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “For a variety of reasons, last year was a difficult one for Ben. We didn’t see the best of him.
“Other clubs were interested, as they were in a few of the lads we’ve re-signed, but Ben was always keen to stick with us and repay the faith we showed in him.
“He’s shaken off a few niggling injuries, which will obviously help, and he’s a very experienced prop who should be a big player for us next season.”
The forward pack is taking shape nicely, but coach Scott Naylor is still in need of more backs.