Roughyeds Swoop for Clarke

Date published: Friday, August 9, 2013
OLDHAM RL Club nipped in ahead of today’s signing deadline to capture Swinton Lions forward Chris Clarke on loan.
The 26-year-old former Huddersfield Giants and Bradford Bulls back-row man will be here until the Roughyeds’ season is over.

That could be as early as next Thursday night after the derby clash at Rochdale, which kicks off at 7pm, or as late as the last weekend in September which stages the Championship One play-off final.

“We’ve told Chris we hope he has one of the shortest loan spells there has ever been,” said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton.

That would only happen if North Wales Crusaders go down to Hemel Stags in Wrexham on Sunday and Oldham win each of their last two games against Gloucester All Golds at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm) and against Hornets at Spotland on Thursday.

Clarke, not to be confused with the Oxford and former Oldham forward of the same name, has been brought in by coach Scott Naylor to top up his squad for the final assault on promotion.

Said the Oldham boss: “Jon Ford’s injury means Josh Crowley will be staying in the threequarters, so that leaves an opening at second-row or loose and Clarke will give me back-up in those positions.

“He trained well with us tonight. He picked things up very quickly. He looks to be our kind of player.

“The squad was down to skeleton size and I needed a little bit more meat on the bones for the crucial games that are coming up.”

Having once fractured his skull, Clarke was out of the game for a long time before Swinton signed him from amateur rugby in Yorkshire for the start of the 2012 season.

More recently he was out with a broken thumb and on his return he struggled to get much game time because of Swinton’s use of dual-reg players from link club Warrington Wolves.

Clarke, named in the Scotland squad for the forthcoming World Cup, is available for Roughyeds’ selection on Sunday.