Return of Luke

Date published: Thursday, July 26, 2012

OLDHAM prop Luke Stenchion, whose season has been decimated by injury, is ready for a final fling.

He is pencilled in to start his comeback in the reserves at Halifax next Thursday (8pm) after nearly three months out with a broken hand.

His cruel luck began when he smashed a thumb at Whitehaven in pre-season.

He was out from January to early May when he returned as a substitute in a 36-32 home defeat by North Wales Crusaders.

It later emerged that he broke a hand in a bizarre accident during the pre-match warm-up, after which he still did two spells off the bench before the full extent of his injury was known.

“He has played once in six months, and even that was with one good hand,” said coach Tony Benson.

“Luke has to be a strong contender for our unluckiest-player-of-the-year award, but he is back now in full contact training, and he will play in the reserves next week.

“He has been sidelined for so long, it will be like having a new player.”

The 26-year-old former Batley Bulldogs front-rower will be aiming to do enough at The Shay to stake a claim for a first-team return across the last four league games of the regular season, starting at Barrow on Sunday week, August 5.

Benson welcomes having no game this Sunday because it gives him two weeks in which to prepare his squad for a tough assignment at Craven Park against a Raiders side that has already clinched promotion.

It also gives on-loan winger Rob Foxen (groin strain) and forwards Chris Clarke (damaged fiinger) and Paul Noone (back complaint) more time to recover from knocks sustained in last Sunday’s 44-12 win at South Wales Scorpions.

It was first feared that Clarke had broken the finger, but happily that is not the case.

Added Benson: “Rob is on rehab, but hopefully he will be running again next week. We expect all three to be ready for the Barrow game.”

The Junction, Ripponden Road, are providing free transport to Whitebank on Saturday (2.30pm kick off) for the under-18s game against Hunslet.

Fans can reserve places on the bus, departing at 1.30pm,  up to 10pm tomorrow (Fri) on 0161 633 2759.

Fans going to Barrow on Sunday week, August 5, can travel with The Junction for £10, leaving at 11.30am. Deadline for booking is 10pm next Thursday, August 2.