History-making veteran League 1 ace pens new deal: ‘It was a no-brainer, the club is really progressing’

Ben Olawumi
Tom Ashton

Tom Ashton in action for Cornwall in 2022 - Alamy

History-making Cornwall centre Tom Ashton has inked a new deal for the upcoming 2024 League 1 campaign, labelling his choice to stay as a ‘no-brainer’ thanks to the progress being made by the club.

Joining the Choughs midway through the 2022 campaign, the 31-year-old scored their first-ever try in the Challenge Cup back in February against Rochdale Mayfield.

That was one of three tries in 14 appearances this term in a season which saw his game time cut short through a shoulder injury sustained while crossing the whitewash against London Skolars.

Having recovered from that knock, Ashton then had a vital role in Cornwall’s first-ever win against a team from the rugby league ‘heartlands’, setting up all three tries on the final day of the season as they saw off Rochdale Hornets at the Memorial Ground.

The veteran will now head into a third season with Mike Abbott’s side as they look to build on a 9th place finish in the third tier this year, winning five of their 18 league games overall.

History-making veteran League 1 ace Tom Ashton pens new deal with Cornwall: ‘It was a no-brainer, the club is really progressing’

Salford native Ashton – who has also played for Hunslet, Oldham, Sheffield Eagles and the already mentioned Rochdale Hornets – saw his new contract was announced on the club’s website earlier this week.

Explaining his decision to stick around, he said: “It was a no-brainer to sign for next season. Cornwall is a bit like my second home now, and we have a great set of lads.

“You can see that by having such a good environment, the club is really progressing. The long-term vision also helps with progression, and you can see that things are moving forward with the results we had last season.

“I know that the goal for next year is to continue that year-on-year progression and with the squad that Mike and Beachy (John Beach, General Manager) are building, there is no reason why we can’t kick on again.

“There is also plenty more to come from me too. I like playing off the back of players like Cam Brown, who are eyes up, and that helps my offload and strong running game. It’s exciting to be a part of Cornwall moving forward.”

Cornwall boss Abbott meanwhile lauded the back, adding: “Tommy is an integral part of our group and I don’t think there are many better centres, in an attack or defence, at this level.

“He was a bit unlucky to get a shoulder knock in scoring against London, and that meant he was in and out towards the end of the season, but he came back with a bang against Rochdale and showed what he was all about.

“We wouldn’t have won that game without Tommy and I think that demonstrates just what he can offer. As a club, we are really pleased he is back for 2024.”

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