It seemed that the second place on the list of all period shooters in Premiership Rugby would be Ashton’s highest name, which would be satisfied only to be at the top of the European rankings – which is still a certain success.
Although, if you know him, it’s not enough.
Driven, professional, competitive, these are just a few words that describe him.
Let’s move a few months ahead and not only is it now in the first place in the Premiership attempts, but after an agreement with the Leicester Tigers on a new contract beyond the current campaign, it has resolved its future.
“Honestly, I thought it was over,” Ashton says, leaning on one of the crowd dividers on the terrace of Mattioli Woods Welford Road after he put a pen on paper to extend with the club.
“Where I was when I showed up is now at the club to sign a new contract is unbelievable.”
“For me, I think it could be one of my best achievements – definitely up there as one of them.”
He recalls how it happened: “It started with a phone call from Steve [Borthwick] to find out if I want to come and talk, discuss where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. “
Ashton and Steve Borthwick were not foreigners.
The pair played side by side for the club and country, with Richard Wigglesworth – another who accepted an offer from Borthwick to restart, for a better word, in Leicester and to play a role in building something in the Tigers.
There were no other offers, so they are not hidden.
In a typically straightforward way, he says, “I trained alone and bothered my wife every day, that was all.”
“I guess she’s happier than me to be here every day.”
Although he did not send offer after offer, the honest Ashton admits that interest on his side has also waned.
“I understood again why I love the rugby I lost during my free time and I lost it with some of the experience I had recently,” says the 35-year-old.
“Being here where the club is and part of this group, I found it a pleasure again.
“The environment that Steve created, the group that’s here, I’m so glad to be able to reach a new deal and continue to contribute.”
He doesn’t lose his irony, he agrees it’s something he’s never seen come.
So, standing on the same steps on the patio, where thousands of Tigers fans have struggled for more than a decade to make Ashton’s Leicester experience miserable, he is more than happy to address the elephant in the room.
“No, definitely not, I never thought I would ever be a Leicester Tigers player,” he says with a smile and a nod.
Judging by the response that the club announced its arrival on a short contract, not even most Leicester Tigers fans.
But in Ashton’s way of doing things on and off the field, he accepted the challenge that stood before him.
“I saw it as another challenge to get the fans inside. It was a big part for me, “he says.
“There were coaches, players and then they actually got on the field, and then I knew I had to try to win them.” [Leicester Tigers fans] also through.
“You know, during the crowd-free time, I was really open about how hard I tried to play in front of no one.” It combines with the way I play the game, I need them as much as they love watching sports.
“So when the first chance against Northampton came, I was reminded why I was doing it and why I love it.”
More than most know what it’s like to go down the stairs and run left onto Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
After switching to rugby, Ashton established himself in the fifteen-member code as a Saints player. After joining the Saracens, he enjoyed a period of intense rivalry between the London Club and Leicester.
When he was on this side, all he could do not be distracted by the league’s biggest and loudest fan base was to try to block them.
Now he has taken the opposite path on this side and is receiving support from England’s most influential 16th man – apparently the coaches and his teammates.
“Being here with the crowd we’re so lucky at Tigers, I took for granted as a visitor,” he says.
“I came, I did my thing and I never paid much attention to it before I was a Tigers player.”
“But honestly, Steve talks about it in meetings; how important they are to us, and he shows us the numbers of ticket sales and sales of goods that are growing, and our influence. The point is for us and they to build something together.
“As I experience it, week after week, I realize how good it is at Leicester Tigers and how important they are to what we do.” It is unbelievable.”