It's a boy! Oh what Joy!

CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes from everyone at the club go to Phil Joy and his fiancee Laura on the arrival of baby Harrison Phillip, who weighed in at 7lbs1oz when born in the Royal Oldham Hospital at 4.44am last Saturday.

They were home in Waterhead by Sunday afternoon and proud dad Phil has since reported that Mother and Baby are both well and doing fine.

Local lad Phil (27) had other duties to perform on Sunday while his Roughyeds team mates were going head to head with Newcastle in the North-East.

“He was where he wanted to be, where he needed to be and where he should have been. You don’t miss once-in-a-lifetime moments like that to play rugby,”

said coach Scott Naylor.

“He had to be with Laura and their baby boy at a time like that. Our congratulations and best wishes go to the three of them.”

Will Harrison play rugby. “Hope so,” said Phil, who fell in love with the game when he was first taken to Waterhead as an eight-year-old and taught to catch and pass.

“He will certainly be given every opportunity, but then it will be up to him.”

One thing is for sure. Harrison will soon become the newest and youngest member of Roary’s Pride, our new members’ club for junior supporters and it won’t be long before he’s wearing Roughyeds colours and turning up at the Vestacare to watch his dad in action.

Added Phil:

“My mum will sort all that out. She’s one of the club’s biggest fans.”

It was that family loyalty to all things Oldham and to Roughyeds in particular that had a significant bearing on our Player of the Week’s decision to join our then reserves team when he was 17.

He had three seasons in the reserves, the first two under John Hough and the third under Paul Ashton, playing alongside the likes of Steve Nield, Danny Langtree, Michael Ward and Kenny Hughes.

(Although ‘Houghie’ has lived in Australia for several years he will be in Oldham at Easter and has made special plans to be at the Vestacare Stadium on Good Friday for the Hunslet game to catch up with all his old friends.)

Caretaker coach Martin Roden gave Phil his big chance at the end of the 2012 season following the departure of head coach Tony Benson.

He made his senior debut off the bench in a 56-12 win at Gateshead. His fellow subs were Paul Noone, Danny Whitmore and Liam Gilchrist.

Phil took his chance and did enough to get a starting place in the second-row seven days later in an elimination play-off tie at Workington where the Cumbrians snatched a thriller 34-29.

The starting pack comprised of Jason Boults, John Clough, Jamie Acton, Phil Joy, Paul Smith, Alex Thompson.

That was the start of it all. In came Scott Naylor after that game and from the start of the 2013 season Phil has been a regular in the front-row, making a total of 139 appearances.

He would have been well past the 160 mark by now had it not been for a serious shoulder injury which restricted his appearances in 2017 to four.

He played in losing Grand Finals in 2013 and 2014 but then enjoyed the delights of an appearance in the Promotion Final of 2015.

What of Phil the man ? He has an elder brother Craig and two younger brothers in twins Richard and Andrew, both of whom play at Saddleworth Rangers after spells in the semi-pro game, Richard with Oldham.

Favourite food ? Laura’s lasagne. Hobbies ?

“Rugby, rugby and more rugby”

replied the man who eats and sleeps the game. If he isn’t training or playing, he’s watching rugby on TV or dropping in to support his old amateur side at Waterhead.

Favourite all-time player ? The reply was quick, decisive and without a hint of consideration:

“Adrian Morley. I used to love watching him.”

In the world of work, he has a suited-and-booted job in financial risk management in city-centre Leeds.

And he says of his tenure in the Roughyeds’ front row:

“I love it . . . absolutely love it !”

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