Widnes Vikings halfback Tom Gilmore has spoken of his pride at being awarded the number squad number for the 2017 season.
Gilmore will follow in the footsteps of several former great players, such as Ray Owen, Reggie Bowden and David Hulme, who have worn the number seven shirt for Widnes in previous years.
And he says it is an achievement that he is immensely proud of.
“Getting that shirt is something that I have always wanted to do,” he said.
“Since I was a little kid, all I’ve ever wanted to be was Widnes Vikings’ scrum-half and it’s an honour that I get the chance to do that.
“I’m still buzzing. Everyone in my family is delighted about it and it’s a dream come true for me.”
His route into has come after spells at North Wales Crusaders and London Broncos in recent times to aid Gilmore’s development, while he has had to sit patiently behind Kevin Brown and Joe Mellor whilst waiting for the chance to play for his hometown club. Now he hopes he can take his chance with both hands.
“It has been frustrating for me at times, and I don’t think people realise how long I have been in the background of the first team,” said Gilmore.
“I’ve been around the team for four or five years but I’ve had a couple of serious injuries along the way which hasn’t helped, but hopefully they’re behind me.
“But I’ve never really thought of going anywhere else and moving on. I’m a Widnes lad and I knew that this was the place where I wanted to play my rugby. I knew that I would get my chance eventually and I thought if I moved on, I would regret it as I felt opportunities would come along. Hopefully next year will prove that and I can get a long run in the team alongside Joey.“
2017 will see a new half-back partnership, with Gilmore partnering up with Joe Mellor, who has taken up the number six shirt vacated by Kevin Brown. With a lot of talk about how the combination will work next year, Gilmore says the relationship between the pair is something that Widnes fans can look forward to.
“I think we’ll work well, and I hope we can bring a lot of excitement to the town,” he said.
“We can work really well off each other, in terms of Joe being a bit more of a runner whilst I like to think of myself as an organiser. Hopefully, with that combination we can get to where we want to be next year.
“I think we’ve got a massive opportunity next year, and it’s up to us to step up and show what we’re about. With Kevin now gone, and the way we played when he was here, it means next year everyone will have to take responsibility and up their game.
“If it works and it all comes together, it can be a very exciting partnership for a few years to come and I can’t see any reason why that can’t happen.”