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 10 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 added: “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.”