JIMMY Beckett, the young prop whose match-winning try against Newcastle Thunder last October clinched promotion for Oldham RLFC, is back with the Roughyeds on a season-long loan from Featherstone Rovers.
As with all long-term loan deals, Rovers have a recall clause which kicks in after 28 days, but unless they feel a need to have the 20-year-old front-rower back he will remain on loan at Oldham for the entire Betfred Championship campaign.
He was 19 when he initially joined Roughyeds on loan last August and he subsequently played in six games off the bench, including the two play-off games against Doncaster in a semi-final qualifier and then against Thunder in the Promotion Final.
In total he figured prominently in two wins against Doncaster and two against Newcastle as well as in wins at Coventry Bears (50-6) and London Skolars (15-14).
His never-to-be-forgotten moment, though, was in the last game of the season. Picture the scene. With 16 minutes left against Thunder, and promotion resting on the result, Oldham trailed 14-12.
Kyran Johnson went up the left wing and from the play-the-ball the ball was moved smartly inside. Up popped Beckett from nowhere and a previously rock-solid Thunder defence opened up for the youngster, who sailed gleefully through to score near the posts. Paul Crook goaled and Roughyeds managed to hold on to win 18-14 — their 11th win in 12 outings.
Announcing Beckett’s return to the club, a delighted chairman Chris Hamilton said:
“Jimmy did well in recent pre-season games for Rovers but he wanted to come back and we wanted him back.
“We’ve been working on this for a while and we’re delighted to get it over the line.
“Jimmy will be in contention for our first league game against Widnes Vikings on Sunday at Bower Fold, Stalybridge.”
A Featherstone lad, Beckett played for amateurs Featherstone Lions as a boy and actually played against Oldham in a Challenge Cup tie when he was 17.
He also represented England Community Lions against Wales and Scotland, earning himself at 18 a place n the Castleford Tigers academy.
His heart was always at Rovers, however, and he was delighted to sign a two-year contract at the club where he was once a ball boy. He is now starting out on year two.
He said when coming to Oldham last August:
“Oldham are a good team. I can only benefit from playing in a side that’s going for promotion.
“I need game time against experienced players and that’s what I’ll get at Oldham. There’s nothing to compare with first-team football.”
Little did we know then that the 6ft 3in, 103 kgs youngster would be Oldham’s match-winner in a Promotion Final and then return the next year on a season-long loan.