ROUGHYEDS forward Matthew Fletcher has taken on the challenge of coaching Waterhead under-13s.

As a thank you, parents and officials have had a whip-round to raise the £375 required to sponsor the young Oldham second-rower for the 2021 season.

Fletcher is himself a product of a Waterhead youth system that has produced scores of professionals, headed by Kevin Sinfield and Barrie McDermott.

The 21-year-old said: “I didn’t think twice when Jon Perks asked me to help out.

“I moved to Waterhead from Saddleworth when I was 11 and I was at the club until I was 16, when I signed for Bradford. I watch most of the first team’s home games because a few of my mates are in it. It’s a very closely knit club. We all look after each other.

“I’ve never done any coaching before but people have been coaching me at all levels since I was nine and now it’s brilliant to be given the opportunity to put something back into the local community game, to which I owe so much to Waterhead.”

Matthew Taylor, a youth coach at Waterhead for several years, said the club was delighted to welcome ‘Fletch’ back on board.

He added: “He’s one of our own and he’s sure to be instilling into the lads the good habits and principles that he himself was taught only a few years ago.

“It helps when you’ve come through the system yourself.

“We’re looking forward to Matthew doing a great job for us with the under-13s.

“We’re grateful too. That’s why we’ve raised the £375 to sponsor him at Roughyeds.”

Of the Roughyeds’ 29-man squad, plus three coaches, 10 are still available to be sponsored.

They are stand-off Lewis Charnock, club captain and hooker Gareth Owen (another Waterhead product), young prop Tyler Dupree, experienced second-row man Shaun Pick and youngsters Callum Green, Max Roberts, James Barran, Ben Holcroft, Joe Hartley and John Hutchings.