Bensons thoughts on Workington WIN

Date published: Monday, March 12, 2012

TONY Benson wasn’t getting carried away by his side’s gutsy and determined display in opening the league campaign with a 24-14 win at Workington.

“Full marks for a fantastic backs-to-the-wall fight,” he said, “but there’s a lot more to this Oldham side than we showed here. We are still a job in progress.

“We can do a lot bettr than this; give us a few weeks and we’ll be something like.”

He was delighted by the Roughyeds’ willingness to graft and battle for supremacy from start to finish. A huge Cumbrian outfit had been strongly fancied by the bookies to open up with a win, but Benson’s men dominated the second half to finish worthy victors.

He felt the three games Oldham had against Championship opposition in the Northern Rail Cup had toughened up his team and had done much to prepare the players mentally and physically for the start of the league season.

“To defend like we did today and to restrict this massive Workington side to 14 points at Derwent Park took some doing,” he said. “They are rough, tough and difficult to stop, but we were magnificent in the way we defended, both individually and as a unit.

“It was in some ways an ugly win . . . but I can’t tell you how proud I am or how much respect I have for these boys. The character in the side is immense.

“Once again, our pre-match plans were hit for six. We lost Shaun Robinson in the first few minutes. The plan was to use Mark McCully off the bench as a second-row replacement, but when Robbo went off never to return, McCully had to go to left centre with Mark Brocklehurst switching to right wing.

“Brocky had trained all week on the left side, but found himself on the right after about ten minutes. Then Danny Whitmore replaced John Clough after half an hour only to suffer an early neck injury, which caused even more disruption.

“I wanted Clough to come back as Martin Roden’s replacement at loose, but that had all to be changed as well.

“Early in the game we gave away too many penalties and lost too much ball, one way or the other, but we improved a lot in both those areas in the second half when we went from strength to strength.

“Our attack is getting better, but there is still room for improvement. We also struggled to get off our line at times.

“Individually, I was delighted with young Matty Syron on his debut and with Dave Ellison’s rousing display — his best of the season so far. I ended up with only three props because Chris Clarke had to go into the second-row, but they were awesome.

“I couldn’t have asked for more of Syron on debut or of Elly, who has always needed a few games before he hits his best. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s getting close.”