Roughyeds news

Date published: Friday, September 10, 2010

OLDHAM RL Club chairman Chris Hamilton has expressed his “utter amazement” at the omission of his coach Tony Benson from the nominees for Co-operative Championship One coach of the year.

Benson piloted unfashionable Roughyeds to runners-up spot and saw his side win each of their ten league games away from home — a remarkable achievement.

By finishing second, Roughyeds are only 80 minutes away from reaching the Grand Final. Victory against third-placed York City Knights at Whitebank on Sunday (3.00pm) in the qualifying play-off semi-final will see Oldham through to the televised final at Warrington on Sunday, September 26.

None of the division’s top three coaches — Paul March (Hunslet Hawks), Benson and York’s Dave Woods — has merited a mention in the list of nominees.

They are Gary Charlton and Mark Oglanby (Workington), Martin Crompton (Blackpool Panthers) and Anthony Seibold of South Wales Scorpions.

Benson’s battlers won five of their six home-and-away games against those clubs, losing only to South Wales Scorpions at Whitebank on August 1.

“I’m staggered Tony isn’t even a nominee,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know what the criteria is, but it’s a travesty that he has been overlooked. He’s a lot more than just a coach. He has bought into the ethos of the club and he is a very rounded person who is always there to offer help and guidance.”

Roughyeds full-back Paul O’Connor is competing with the Hunslet due of Paul and David March for the player-of-the-year gong and Hamilton believes that is “thoroughly justified.”

“Paul has had a magnificent season,” he said, “and his level of performance, to say nothing of his consistency, has been absolutely first-class.”

Benson has picked his team for Sunday’s big game and has told the players, but he isn’t required by RFL rules to reveal it until one hour before kick off, and that’s what he intends to do.

He said: “The players have a spring in their stride. They are really looking forward to this play-off series. Our goal is to take the short cut straight to the final, and we feel confident we are moving in the right direction.

“We will be aiming to be at our best, but we will be keeping pretty cool and we are not going to get stressed. We believe we are a better team now than the one that won 33-18 at York in early August.”

The game is NOT all-ticket and Roughyeds say there will be plenty of room for fans to pay on the day. Fans who can get to the club’s office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton before 5.00pm tonight, however, are advised get their tickets in advance to ease turnstile congestion. They open at 2.00pm. Fans with tickets can use either the ticket-only turnstile or the one for paying adults.

Only a small number of seats will be available in the stand for purchase on the day but, unlike most games, the 32 seats near the players’ tunnel will be offered for general use on payment of a £2 transfer.

If Roughyeds win, tickets for the Grand Final triple-header at Warrington on September 26 will go on sale at Lansdowne Road, Chadderton from 10.00am on Monday.

Oldham’s allocation comprises seats in the main North Stand, priced at £20 (£10 concessions) or £16 (£8 concessions); seats in East Stand (behind the posts), priced at £15 (£8 concessions); standing tickets in West Stand (behind the posts), priced at £14 (£7 concessions).

For the next two weeks (if Oldham beat York), the Roughyeds office will be open as follows: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm; Tuesday, Thursday, 9.00am to 7.00pm.

Tickets will be sold on a first-come basis, payment by cash or cheque only.