New players to Whitebank

Date published: Thursday, April 7, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club hope to build on the Luke Stenchion signing by bringing more new players to Whitebank before the season is much older.

“We are looking to sign other players in other positions as soon as we can,” confirmed chairman Chris Hamilton, whose young, injury-stricken squad has lost three of its first four games in Co-operative Championship One.

New-boy Stenchion, meanwhile, is ready to tackle the task of helping to turn things round as Roughyeds strive to move out of the bottom three and start to climb the table.

A trainee accountant, he wasn’t put off by the figures behind his new club’s disappointing start to the new league season and a run of three defeats in a row.

“That didn’t worry me in the slightest,” said the 25-year-old former Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams prop. “There are a lot of very good players out through injury and any side in either of the two Championship divisions would find it hard to cope with that.

“I’ve experienced a similar situation at Batley so I can relate to what the Oldham players have been going through.

“At Dewsbury last year we were also torn apart by injury. We lost our first 12 league games, but we turned it round to become one of the most consistently successful sides in the division over the second half of the season with six wins from our last eight outings.

“That will happen at Oldham and I can’t wait to be involved in it.”

During a spell out of rugby while studying to become a chartered accountant, Stenchion has kept himself fit by training with amateurs Dewsbury Celtic.

He added: “I’ve been in touch with Chris (Hamilton) and Tony Benson (coach) since last pre-season and I’m really pleased to have joined Oldham.

“Two other clubs were interested, but once I had spoken to Oldham I didn’t want to go anywhere else. It sounds to be just what I’m looking for: a good, family club with a nice atmosphere.

“I’ve always played close to home while with Batley and Dewsbury, so this will be a new challenge, a new experience and a real change of scenery.”

Stenchion will train for the first time with the Roughyeds tonight (Thursday) and will be in line to make his debut against London Skolars at Whitebank on Sunday week, April 17.

He played as a boy at Dewsbury Moor and Drighlington before spending four years in the youth set-up at Leeds Rhinos where he won Yorkshire and England honours at Academy level.

On tour Down Under with England Academy in 2004, he played in the side that beat the renowned Australian Schoolboys and also in the side that beat the Junior Kiwis, then coached by Tony Benson.

Returning from that tour, he signed for his hometown club Batley Bulldogs where he played for four years and clocked up more than 80 appearances.

“I loved my time at Mount Pleasant,” said Luke. “I still watch them when I can. I suppose if I’m being honest I’m a Batley supporter, but that won’t stop me giving 100 per cent effort at Oldham and getting really involved with the club. I can’t wait to start.

“I’m feeling fine and ready to go and that’s due in no small measure to the generosity of Dewsbury Celtic, who were happy for me to train with them. I would very much like to thank Celtic publicly and wish them well for the future.”

Roughyeds Reserves are in action at Whitebank tonight (7.30pm kick off) when they entertain Halifax, a side they beat 28-10 in a pre-season friendly back in February.

Coach John Hough is looking for a big response after a 50-16 defeat at Dewsbury on Friday.