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Featherstone Rovers star makes decision on future after suffering stroke

Featherstone Rovers have made an incredible move in retaining the services of Josh Hardcastle, the 31-year-old set to continue his playing career just months after having a stroke.

Hardcastle suffered the stroke back in July leading to him having to spend four days in hospital, therefore being relieved of his playing duties with the Championship outfit.

Fast forward a few months and both Rovers and Hardcastle have made the incredible announcement that his services have been retained, and he’s set to play in 2024.

Hardcastle, who can play along the back line, has played with Rovers since 2017 making 98 appearances for the club and thankfully with this positive news it would seem he’ll be set to make his 100th in the new year.

The club announced the news of his commitment to the club via their website, confirming that the 31-year-old would resume his career following the major health scare.

Rovers confirmed: “Featherstone Rovers stalwart, Josh Hardcastle, resiliently commits to continued career following health setback.

“In a testament to resilience and determination, Rovers are pleased to announce that the club has successfully retained the services of Josh Hardcastle.”

“I’m extremely pleased to see Josh commit to the Club, but more importantly, for Josh and his family to see him returning to fitness and good health,” commented CEO Martin Vickers.

Vickers continued: “We will continue to give Josh all our support; we know what a valuable player he is in our team, a local lad who gives 100% every game, and we can’t wait to have him back playing at the Millennium Stadium.”

Head coach James Ford also added: “Everyone at Featherstone is delighted to see Josh return for the coming season. He’s demonstrated an outstanding level of resilience and desire to come back from two major setbacks, and we’re all excited to help him along on his journey. Josh has proven he’s a top performer in this competition, and he’ll strengthen the team and squad across a number of positions.”

At the time of the scare in July Hardcastle spoke to Rovers’ website explaining his desire to return to a “normal life”, talking about the huge impact the event had on his family and himself considering just how threatening the situation was.

Speaking in July, Hardcastle said: “That could have been it. It could have been game over. But looking at the others in the ward, they were in a lot worse position than me. I am still young and surrounded by a lot of good people.

“A lot of people don’t make recoveries from strokes and I’ve read a lot about it. I could be negative and think why me or I can crack on and focus on what I have to get back to and hopefully I’ll be back to normal life in a couple of months so this is a small price to play.”

Incredibly Hardcastle is back to normal life, so much so that he is set to return to action for Rovers in this remarkable turn around tale.

On the confirmation of the news that he had committed to the club just last night, Hardcastle reacted: . “As a dad, I was always going to follow the medical advice, but I knew inside I’d play again. I’m grateful to the club, the fans, and the sport for their support in recent months, and now I’m ready to repay that faith.”

Rovers concluded their statement with this classy message: “As Featherstone Rovers looks ahead to the upcoming season, the retention of Hardcastle stands as a powerful statement of determination. The entire Featherstone Rovers community is inspired by Josh’s commitment to overcoming adversity and eagerly anticipates his return to the pitch.”

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