Mansfield re-signs

Date published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

OLDHAM coach Tony Benson spoke highly today of the latest youngster to sign for another year of Roughyeds’ rugby — 19-year-old Scott Mansfield.

Like Ben Heaton (20), who has also agreed a new one-year deal, Mansfield first burst on to the Roughyeds scene as a young hopeful in the newly-formed reserve team of 2008.

At the end of that year four from the class of 2008, Mansfield, Heaton, Chris Clarke and Mark Smith turned pro on two-year contracts covering the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Heaton and Clarke made the biggest impacts at first-team level in the season recently ended, but boss Benson believes Mansfield, the youngest of the four, has what it takes to follow suit.

“He’s a great young prospect,” said the Kiwi coach, “and we are delighted Scott will be with us again next season. His enthusiasm knows no bounds.

“He was progressing well at the start of last season, but then injury held him back a little bit. His eagerness and keenness never faltered though and he is really keen to be in the first team.

“As well as training with the reserves he kept on training with the first-team squad when he didn’t have to. That says a lot about him as a man and a lot about his determination to succeed. He’s the sort of young player we want at Oldham.

“He’ll have a chance next season to crack it and if he does I’ll be the happiest man at the club.”

Mansfield, Oldham-born and formerly of Saddleworth Rangers, began life with the Roughyeds as a 17-year-old back-row man or centre before he started to be groomed as a hooker, the position in which Benson believes he will make his mark.

He made four senior appearances off the bench early on last season, but with Martin Roden and Danny Whitmore ahead of him in the pecking order for hooker his senior opportunities were limited.

Though still a teenager, he was the senior squad’s 18th man on numerous occasions, however — a clear indication of the regard in which Benson held him.

Mansfield was influential all season in John Hough’s reserve team for which he won the end-of-year top-tackler award.

In one match alone, a 36-18 win at Sheffield, he made an astonishing 42 tackles — 25 of them in the first-half.