Diskin snaps up local lad Barran

Date published: 06 November 2020

Oldham Rugby League Club has signed a fourth former Wigan Warriors youngster in Oldham-born stand-off James Barran (22), to add to the captures of his ex-Warriors colleagues Ben Holcroft (19), Max Roberts (20) and Callum Green (21).

Like them, Barran is an exciting back who has worked his way through the Wigan development system before going out on loan to Leigh Centurions, London Skolars and Rochdale Hornets.

He learned the game at Oldham St Anne's from the age of six; watched Roughyeds as a boy; and joined Wigan on scholarship when he was 13,.

"I even lived for a time on Watersheddings Street," said Barran, "but I'm living in Lees now and I'm excited about signing for my home-town club.

"It will be like coming 'home' and after travelling to Wigan every day for a few years it will be fantastic to be with a club that's on my doorstep."

Oldham boss Matt Diskin said: "James is a talented kid, who needs to be playing at a higher level so as to challenge himself.

"He will undoubtedly add significantly to what is already a strong-looking squad with a nice mix of experience and youth -- and he will provide much-needed competition for the half-backs,

"I'm really pleased to sign James and the other young lads who have come through the Wigan system and I'm looking forward to working with them in pre-season and to seeing how they go."

At the age of 19, he played for Leigh at stand-off on loan at Featherstone in October, 2018 and then, six months later, he went on loan to London Skolars  where he played 14 games in the early part of the 2019 season .

With Barran at No 6, Skolars won six of his first seven games there, including wins against Workington, North Wales Crusaders and Doncaster in the capital and Hunslet at the South Leeds Stadium. 

From mid-May to mid-June they were in second place in League One and were higher than Roughyeds, who needed a powerful surge in the second half of the season to finish second and, from there, to go on and win promotion.

The former St Anne's junior eventually got fed up with the travelling to London and he finished the 2019 season in the Championship with Rochdale where he had three games in a struggling side that was virtually doomed to relegation when he joined them.

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