Made in Oldham
Oldham Roughyeds are continuing to put their faith in the "made in Oldham" trademark as witnessed by their capture on contract of yet another local boy in Michael Diveney.
Diveney (23), a goalkicking half-back, starred for Roughyeds Reserves last season and has now earned himself a 12-month contract and, with it, promotion to Tony Benson's 2011 senior squad.
Having played scholarship rugby at Wigan Warriors and academy rugby at Salford City Reds, former Waterhead junior Diveney is hoping to kick on and show that he can live comfortably with Championship One rugby.
"My ambition is to get my name on the back of a Roughyeds jersey. That's it in a nutshell," said Diveney, who scooped the top awards at last season's reserve team presentation night, walking off with coach John Hough's player-of-the-year award -- the Brian Gartland Trophy -- as well as the supporters' top-player trophy.
He becomes the eighth Oldhamer on contract to Roughyeds next season and, having sampled one season already with the Whitebank outfit, he acknowledges that home is where the heart is.
"I had a brilliant time last season," he added, "and it was nice to take up goalkicking again for the first time in several years. There is definitely something special about playing for your home town, maybe especially so for players who have been a few years at other clubs first."
Diveney's accurate goalkicking was a feature of the reserve team's performances, but he revealed that he hadn't been a marksman for years until Hough persuaded him to take up the kicking tee once again.
"I soon got back into the old routine," he said, "and I gave it my best shot by putting in 20 minutes of goalkicking practice before training sessions. I also spent a lot of time kicking on my own up at Counthill to give myself the best possible chance of getting it right on match day."
A builder by trade, Diveney lives at Watersheddings -- not far from the site of the old ground.
The decision to promote Diveney and Alistair Williams to senior status and put them on contract was lauded by reserve team coach Hough, who hopes the club will be in a position to announce more local signings in the near future.
"The rewards are there," he said, "for anyone who shows in the reserves that they have the right attributes to make the step up to the senior side.
"We give people the opportunity to come to the club and prove themselves and that's exactly what these two have done. Micky (Diveney) was consistently our top performer last season. His two player-of-the-year awards were merited and he now has the opportunity to stake a claim for the first team.
"Alistair (Williams) has huge potential. There were times last year when he was fantastic. He's big and strong, athletic, fast and aggressive in defence and his aim now must be to force his way into the first team as quickly as he can."