THREE members of Oldham’s promotion-winning squad are on two-year contracts with another season to run.
Scrum-half Dave Hewitt, long-serving second-row man Danny Langtree and utility back Kyran Johnson are all committed to Roughyeds for the 2020 Betfred Championship season.
New coach Matt Diskin said:
“All three had fantastic seasons in the promotion campaign and each of them has the quality we’ll need in the Championship.
“In the early part of last season ‘Langers’ had the benefits of working full-time in a Super League environment at Hull and his two years in Oldham’s Championship seasons of 2016 and 2017 will stand him in good stead, as will the Championship experience of Dave and Kyran.”
Of the 2019 squad, Langtree and Phil Joy were the longest-serving players at the club, ‘Langers’ finishing the promotion season with 88 tries in 166 games — 12 more appearances than Joy, who dislocated a shoulder in the third game of the 2017 season and missed most of that year.
It was the first of several serious injuries that year, culminating in relegation back to the third tier.
Despite missing the first eight matches of the promotion campaign when he was at Hull, ‘Langers’ was the top try-scoring forward in League 1 with 17 — a total surpassed only by backs Kieran Gill (Newcastle), Gareth Potts (Hunslet) and Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders).
The top seven, in fact, were all backs with the exception of the 27-year-old Oldham second-rower, whose overall try stat for Roughyeds last season was 18 in 18 appearances.
In the club’s Championship seasons of 2016 and 2017, he made a total of 49 appearances, scoring 12 tries.
Scrum-half Dave Hewitt enjoyed his best season yet in 2019, going from strength to strength as the season progressed and playing a key tactical role in the run of 11 wins in the last 12 games which ultimately led to the marvellous celebration scenes both on the pitch and in the social club when promotion was achieved with the win over Newcastle.
Aged 23, he sat out only three of the Roughyeds’ 26 games in 2019 to take his overall figures in the Oldham jersey to 95 games, 34 tries and 83 goals.
Like Langers, he is no stranger to Championship rugby, having played in 22 games in 2016 (13 for Sheffield, nine for Oldham) and another 29 games, all for Oldham, in 2017.
Carrying much of the team’s tactical responsibility in 2019, the former St Helens product was very young for that sort of role in 2017, but is now realising his full potential and fulfilling the promise that Oldham always saw in him.
Johnson, equally at home at full-back or on the wing, played in more than half of the Roughyeds games last season and would probably have played more than 15 (seven tries) but for injury.
He didn’t arrive at Oldham until 2018, from Featherstone, but he had played 24 games for Rovers in the 2016 and 2017 Championship seasons.
He suffered an ankle injury near the end of the Promotion Final against Newcastle, but he is happy to report that, although still sore, the damaged joint is improving steadily.
He is sure that he will be ready for the start of pre-season training next month.
“It won’t be a problem,”
said Johnson, a proud Yorkshire lad, aged 25, who says he has never been happier since he took the decision to cross the Pennies ahead of the 2018 campaign.
Roughyeds will be announcing more signings this week, including at least one newcomer.