More on Tony Benson

Date published: Tuesday, August 7, 2012

TONY Benson ultimately lost his job because of poor results — that’s what chairman Chris Hamilton said in his statement yesterday.

Roughyeds began the league campaign in great style, opening up with a 24-14 win at Workington; blitzing lowly Gateshead 40-14 at Whitebank; and then smashing Barrow at home 32-26.

They suffered their first defeat in game four at Rochdale on Good Friday (18-10), but then hit top form again to lower Barrow’s colours for the second time, beating them 26-14 at Whitebank in the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

They had lost influential stand-off and captain Neil Roden with a serious leg injury in the loss at Rochdale and in the next league game at London, where they drew 20-20, they suffered further long-term injuries to their two most experienced forwards Paul Noone and Paul Smith.

To replace Roden, Roughyeds brought in 36-year-old former Super League star Graham Holroyd, but he was to play in five league games which produced four defeats and one draw,

Roden returned to the side in a narrow 30-28 defeat at North Wales Crusaders on June 10, but in the next game at home to Rochdale, Roughyeds slumped to their worst performance of the year when hammered 30-4.

Another defeat at Whitehaven on July 1 was their eighth loss in a row. Two wins followed against London Skolars and South Wales, but Benson’s men produced another sub-standard performance at Barrow on Sunday when beaten 42-16 to drop to seventh in a ten-club division.

They have missed out on promotion (top four go up) and they need to pick up points in their remaining three games against high-flying Doncaster and Workington and lowly Gateshead to stand a chance of qualifying for the top-six play-off which would bring in extra revenue and which also offers a trophy and prize money for the winners.

Benson coached the Junior Kiwis between 2003 and 2005 and came to England in 2005 to succeed Darren Abram at Leigh. In his one season in charge at Leigh he led them to a Northern Rail Cup final triumph over Hull KR.

The New Zealander, now aged 45, parted company with Leigh after defeat by Batley in the 2006 National League One play-offs. In 2007 he coached Ireland ‘A’ and Irish Wolfhounds before becoming head coach at London Skolars for the 2008 season.

He was appointed head coach at Oldham for the start of the 2009 season, succeeding Steve Deakin, who is now on the staff at Catalans Dragons.

His record at Roughyeds from the start of the 2009 campaign is:

Championship One: played 73, won 43, drawn 2, lost 28

Others (Northern Rail Cup, Carnegie Challenge Cup, league play-offs): played 34, won 15, drawn 1, lost 18.

Overall: played 107, won 58, drawn 3, lost 46.

In his first year, 2009, Oldham finished fourth in the division and won play-off games against Swinton, Hunslet and York before losing 28-26 to Keighley in the final.

The following year, Benson’s men finished second and beat York at Whitebank in the play off, 41-32, before losing to the same opponents in the final, 25-4.

Oldham had suffered two consecutive Grand Final defeats in 2007 and 2008 when Deakin was boss, Benson also failing to get over the last hurdle on the road to promotion in two consecutive years.

In his third season Roughyeds finished seventh and that’s the position they currently occupy in 2012 with three games left.