HEAD Coach Gary Thornton’s preparations for Hunslet’s forthcoming season in Betfred League 1 continue to progress nicely, with hard-running three-quarter Tom Ashton the latest to confirm a contract renewal.

Ashton has agreed a further year on his existing deal and is therefore committed to the Parksiders until the end of the 2020 campaign.

And while he offers undoubted value on the field – as ten tries in 18 outings lest season illustrates – he also contributes massively off the pitch.

The 27-year-old has, in fact, pulled in two sponsors, with Kingfisher Lighting being his own player sponsor and LB Agency also throwing their weight behind the club.

He said: “I’m delighted to do what I can to help Hunslet. Gary Thornton and the club gave me a helping hand a couple of years ago when I was out of the game, and I won’t forget that.

“This is my way of giving something back in return, over and above what I might be able to contribute on the field of play.

“My work, dealing with electrical suppliers, gives me a chance to talk to potential backers, and I’ve got a couple more in the pipeline.”

Ashton concluded: “I never thought about looking anywhere else. This a fantastic squad, we’ve a strong team spirit here and GT is a top coach.

“I’ve really enjoyed my rugby at Hunslet, everyone behind the scenes is superb, and we must have the best supporters around, certainly in this division.

“I had absolutely no reason to even think about going anywhere else. We perhaps disappointed a bit towards the end of last season after we’d looked likely to go up – the young lads we’ve brought in should ensure that we don’t run out of steam this time – but we still bettered the previous year’s position in the league, finishing fifth. We’ll be aiming for further improvement in 2020, and gaining promotion. There’s unfinished business to be done.”

Thornton said: “Tom is a very important member of the squad and the fact that he’s securing sponsorships says a lot about him.

“Not all lads are in a position to do that of course but Tom has made the most of his opportunities and that’s very impressive.”

He added: “Tom’s season last time was disrupted by injuries a little and I’ve set him a bit of a challenge on fitness. He’ll be even more of a threat when fully fit and we’ll continue to spread the ball wide to give our big threequarters plenty of opportunities; our aim is to win games by continuing to play expansive and entertaining Rugby League.

“League 1 is a tremendous competition. Make no mistake, we want to get out of it and we’ll be doing our utmost to gain promotion. But there are some very good teams in it, the standard is very good and the message we’re getting from Rugby League purists is that it can be, and often is, more entertaining than Super League. We’ll be offering entertainment – and planning to win at the same time.”

Hunslet have introduced a number of attractive packages to suit all requirements and budgets, ranging from the recently-launched `Spirit of 73’ Geoff Gunney Membership (in homage to the all-time great who helped launch New Hunslet following the sale of Parkside in 1973), which costs from £5 per month, to the £50 per month Frank Watson VIP membership, which secures a season ticket, match-day hospitality and a seat at the directors’ table at an away match.

The Graham King Gold Membership, at £26 per month, secures a season ticket and other benefits, while the Mick Coyle Silver Membership (£21 per month) offers a £50 discount off a season ticket, plus benefits.

Hunslet have also pegged season tickets at 2019 prices at £120 (£70 concessions, under 16s free).

All packages can be purchased online by CLICKING HERE, by ringing 0113 271 2730, or by calling at the club’s offices at the South Leeds Stadium.