Bensons thoughts

Date published: Monday, July 4, 2011

INSPIRATIONAL individual contributions right across the park helped Oldham to end Whitehaven’s eight-game unbeaten run, said delighted coach Tony Benson in the after-glow of a rousing Roughyeds performance.

“We’ve been building game on game in the past few weeks,” said the New Zealander. “This was our third win in a row and we’ve raised the bar each time. We always felt that if we could continue to put good foundations in place and at the same time go up a notch from the level we reached last week at Gateshead then we would be on the right lines to beat Whitehaven.

“We ran our game plan to the letter, particularly in defence. Our defending was really strong, and that was crucial to the outcome.

[singlepic id=778 w=320 h=240 float=left]”We were finding it hard to get on top of them in the first 20 minutes, but I felt we had just started to take control when Elly (Dave Ellison) went down injured. That knocked us back a bit and we lost the ground we had made before the stoppage. What impressed me most of all, though, was the way we dusted ourselves down, started again, and quickly got back on top.

“We were dominant again going into the second half. I am happy for and proud of all 17 players because this was a team performance in every sense of the word set against a background of adversity, given that we had seen Elly carried off in so much pain and after that we had to soldier on with only three props.

“A lot of players were inspirational and their deeds helped to lift the others. I could go on all afternoon about them, but I’m thinking of things like Foggy’s (Matthew Fogarty’s) high leap to take Callum Casey’s cross-kick and go in for a try or the way in which Luke Stenchion would drill an opponent into the ground and jump up quickly to look for the next tackle.”

Though cursing his side’s cruel luck at losing Ellison perhaps for the rest of the season — this coming on top of similarly serious injuries to Lucas Onyango, Mick Fogerty, John Gillam, Bruce Johnson, Chris Clarke and Tom Wood-Hulme — Benson said he was looking forward to the end-of-season run-in.

[singlepic id=790 w=320 h=240 float=left]Gillam and Wood-Hulme, both out for weeks, are now ready to return with six games left in the regular part of the season against Keighley, Workington and South Wales at home and London Skolars, Rochdale and Workington away.

He added: “It’s an exceptionally tight division. The teams above us will all be playing each other and if we continue to play well we can finish well up the league and handily placed in the play-off six.”

Whitehaven boss David Seeds pulled no punches in the criticism of his side’s performance, while offering generous praise to Roughyeds.

“Oldham took us to the cleaners,” he said. “It wasn’t just one or two things that were wrong with us. It was everything. Our poor attitude, our poor one-on-one defending, suspect decision-making and lack of urgency all combined to produce a very poor performance.

“We lost a lot of our composure on attack, while there was bad decision-making right across the park. All credit to Oldham, though. They beat us with good, basic rugby backed up by limitless enthusiasm and energy.”